The pupil's parents blew the whistle of the text messages and alleged pictures to the police and department of education on Thursday.
The MEC for Education in KwaZulu-Natal Mthandeni Dlungwana, who visited the school on Friday morning said her department was alerted that an arts and culture teacher at Bechet High school had allegedly been sending inappropriate text messages and his nude pictures to a pupil in the same school. The pupil brought it to the attention of her parents who immediately reported the matter to the police. The parents told the department that this practice has been going on for years and six educators have even married learners that they taught in the same school.
Dlungwana said it was a violation of the educators' ethics code. The department has a zero-tolerance approach towards issues of sexual misconduct.
"We are very emphatic that those found guilty should be dealt with harshly because they not only violate the educators' ethics code but also destroy these children's futures. Allegations of sexual misconduct are shocking and unacceptable because teachers have a duty of care towards children. If found guilty of sexual misconduct, we are going to ensure that the teacher involved is struck off the roll by the South African Council for Educators (SACE),"Dlungwana said.
The case is being investigated by Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit said police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane. The suspect was arrested and detained at Sydenham police station.
Satish Dhupelia,Sydenham Policing Forum spokesman, said the case was sensitive and was shocked that teachers, who are the custodians and guardians of children in the absence of their parents, can stoop to such levels.