James Masango MPL
DA Mpumalanga Provincial Chief Whip of the Official Opposition.
The DA condemns in the strongest terms allegations of assault of four learners in Siyabuswa on Tuesday, and calls on Mpumalanga education MEC Reginah Mhaule to immediately suspend the teacher pending an investigation.
The DA reliably learnt that a teacher at the Kabenziwa Primary School kept four 7-year-old learners after school and instructed them to clean the classroom. It is alleged that the teacher was not satisfied with the children’s efforts, and subsequently beat them with a belt, so much so that one learner suffered severe lacerations above the eye and had to seek medical attention.
The South African Schools Act prohibits the use of corporal punishment and clearly states that no person shall administer it at any school to any learner. However, for an adult to assault a seven-year-old with the buckle-end of a belt is entirely unacceptable, and that person should entirely be removed from the company of children if proved guilty.
MEC Mhaule must immediately dispatch a team to Kabenziwa Primary, have the teacher suspended, and investigate the assault without delay.
This incident is the third of its kind in almost as many months, and the DA is highly concerned that a trend is developing. MEC Mhaule needs to establish what the causes are of increasing levels of intolerance among teachers in our province, and address those issues. The MEC must also consider further interventions to address teacher behaviour and 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.
Schools are supposed to be safe havens of learning and safety, not breeding grounds for assault and violent behaviour.