Investigation launched after Eastern Cape teen 'whipped' by teacher

23 November 2020 - 10:29
By Ziyanda Zweni
A 14-year-old Eastern Cape pupil was allegedly whipped at school.
Image: 123RF/ ARTIT OUBKAEW A 14-year-old Eastern Cape pupil was allegedly whipped at school.

A 14-year-old pupilallegedly whipped with a sjambok by a teacher during her exams says she's still traumatised and in pain - and her livid mother wants the teacher punished.

Speaking to DispatchLIVE on Sunday, the mother - who cannot be named to protect the identity of her daughter - said it was terrible to see her child in such pain.

“She was even saying she wanted to quit school,” said the emotional mother, who is from Thakazi village in Centane.

The victim is in grade 10 at Dondashe High and the whipping allegedly came after she failed to attend school on a previous Saturday.

“When she came home that day, she could not sit properly. I asked what had happened, and I even thought she was raped because she and other pupils walk a long distance to school. When she told she was assaulted by a teacher I was shocked. My child was attacked mercilessly,” said the mother.

“She was beaten so badly there is  swelling. She has green marks on her body. She is in pain as we speak. She was writing on that day. She was called while writing her exams and was beaten by the teacher.”

The mother pointed out that corporal punishment had been abolished.

“She is scared to go to school. She is my hope as an uneducated person. I was scared to open a case because I know nothing about the law, but I want that teacher to account for this.

“My child was threatened that she will not write the remaining papers. She is disturbed. She feels she did something wrong for telling me and fears that teacher.”

Education MEC Fundile Gade said an investigation had been launched and the need for action was urgent.

“I find this act barbaric. I need the established team to clarify whether the whistleblower is from the school. The next step is to establish if the culprit is a departmental employee or a school governing body (SGB) employee. Should we find the perpetrator is from the school, a harsh punishment will be imposed,” he said.

Gade said an immediate recommendation would be imposed in line with the Employment of Educators Act and the South African Schools Act.

“There is precautionary suspension if the culprit is our employee. Even if he or she is not, that individual does not belong with our children. All this must happen urgently to save other pupils from this shocking exercise.” 

Gade revealed three other schools in Centane were apparently still using corporal punishment on pupils.

The MEC instructed a team to visit the schools and “investigate these serious allegations and report back to the senior leadership of the department with recommendations should anyone be found guilty of breaking the Schools Act”.

“I call on all schools and SGBs, including educators, to distance themselves and refrain from administering corporal punishment. Anyone found guilty of such will be dismissed and blacklisted, never to practise in SA again.”