DURBAN – Pupils who had sex with a teacher at a northern KwaZulu-Natal high school are set to be given antiretroviral (ARV) treatment as a precaution against HIV infection.

The decision was taken at a provincial cabinet meeting, according to a statement released by the office of the KwaZulu-Natal premier Willies Mchunu.

Additionally, provincial authorities are seeking to have the teacher, who is currently in custody, tested to determine his HIV status.

The teacher from eKucabangeni High School in Nquthu is alleged to have had sex with at least six pupils according to the provincial education department.

The man, who has yet to be named, faces two counts of rape, two of sexual grooming and one of sexual assault.

“Weighing heavily on the shoulders of the members of the Executive Council is the possibility that these learners have been infected with HIV virus,” read the statement.

“It is for this reason that the council has mandated the Department of Education and Department of Health to ensure that affected learners are given ARVs as a precaution. Critically, the council stated that efforts will also be made to ensure that the alleged perpetrator is tested for HIV and AIDS.”

The teacher, who has been suspended, gained notoriety, when a video of him allegedly having sex with a pupil, circulated on social media networks earlier this month.

Two weeks ago, KwaZulu-Natal education department spokesman ‎Kwazi Mthethwa said that there were six pupils, aged either 14 or 15-years-old, who had come forward claiming that they had been sexually assaulted by the teacher.

‎The legal age of consent in South Africa is 16-years-old and the Schools Act prohibits any sexual relations between teachers and pupils irrespective of their ages.

According to Mthethwa, provincial education MEC Mthandeni Dlungwana had set up a task team to investigate the allegations. It was not immediately clear if or when the department would lay further charges with the police in respect of the other five alleged victims.

Since the case came to light the department has suspended a further 12 teachers who are alleged to have had sexual relations or sexually assaulted pupils.

On Monday, a Nongoma school principal was arrested in connection with the sexual assault of a school pupil.

– African News Agency