Education MEC Must Act

James Masango MPL

Provincial Chief Whip of the Official Opposition.

Yet another Mpumalanga primary school learner was beaten so severely that he had to be rushed to hospital, and education MEC Reginah Mhaule has to take urgent steps to establish the causes of this alarming trend, and neutralise them.

The DA was today informed of the assault of an eight-year-old boy by a teacher at the Hlangu Phala Primary School in Phola near Ogies, and while the extent of his injuries are not known, had to be rushed to the Witbank Hospital for emergency treatment.

The DA absolutely condemns the severity of the assault, and also commends the parents of the learner for subsequently laying charges of assault against the teacher, but can’t help but be concerned over the increased incidences of assault against such young learners in our province.

While there may some merit in the education department’s reasoning that reporting of assaults are increasing, it points to a deeper problem in schools in our province – that corporal punishment is as widespread as it is savage, and is only now bubbling to the surface.

MEC Mhaule needs to realise that the South African Schools Act prohibits the use of corporal punishment in any way, shape or form, and has to pay heed to the warning signs of increasing levels of intolerance among teachers in our province.

The DA on a previous occasion called on MEC Mhaule to implement methods to identify and address these issues, as well as to embark on an aggressive campaign to educate teachers around corporal punishment, the South African Schools Act, as well as applying non-violent and effective methods of discipline.

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