It will soon be back to school for Amy'Leigh de Jager after kidnap ordeal

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi at Laerskool Kollegepark on September 5 2019.
Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi at Laerskool Kollegepark on September 5 2019.
Image: Sunday Times/Alaister Russell

Six-year-old Amy’Leigh de Jager will soon return to class at Kollegepark primary school – from where she was snatched and a teacher was arrested in connection with her abduction.

Her return, in about a week, was confirmed during a media briefing at the school in the Vaal region by Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi on Thursday. Lesufi said the school governing body (SGB) had decided to "immediately suspend" the teacher implicated in the kidnapping. "I endorse this decision," he said.

The Grade RR teacher joined the school this year.

Six-year-old Amy'Leigh de Jager was kidnapped at school on September 2 2019 by four men and loaded into a white Toyota Fortuner. Her grandfather, Martin Brouwer, spoke out about how the ordeal impacted their lives and describes the relief the family felt when they saw Amy’Leigh for the first time after the incident.

The school’s management confirmed at the briefing that due process had been followed in the appointment of the teacher. She was interviewed and reference checks were done.

Lesufi thanked parents for not removing their children from the school and expressed relief that Amy’Leigh was found safe.

SGB chairperson Andries Pienaar said parents arrived at the school on Thursday to thank the staff. "The police did a marvellous job here and we would like to thank them," he added.

Pienaar said the school was shocked and disappointed that one of the arrested suspects was a teacher at the school. She was well known in the community, he added.

"During the interview process, she was the top candidate and received the highest score. She also received a good reference from the previous local school she worked at," he said.

Pienaar said the arrested teacher's mother was also a respected teacher: "This has really shocked us."

He said disciplinary proceedings would be instituted against the teacher.

Meanwhile, teaching at the school continued as usual on Thursday. "This afternoon we had a cricket match," said Pienaar.

Lesufi said the department would attend court proceedings on Friday when the teacher and other suspects were expected to make a first appearance.

Amy’Leigh’s parents have met the school and confirmed that she will return.

Two women, aged 27 and 40, and a 50-year-old man were arrested at their homes in Vanderbijlpark on Wednesday night in connection with the kidnapping.


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