By James Masango MP, DA Mpumalanga Provincial Leader:
A year has passed since the tragic death of a learner at Cefups Academy in Mbombela municipality and the DA is concerned that very little has been done to ensure that justice is served.
The learner, Paballo Seane, died on 31 July 2014 after allegedly being beaten with a sjambok for doing badly in a test.
Following her death, the HOD of Education took a decision to withdraw the registration of Cefups Academy as an independent school. The DA supported this decision because the Academy had for a long time been marred by allegations of corporal punishment as well as other degrading treatment of learners.
Cefups Academy launched an urgent appeal to suspend the withdrawal of its registration, a decision which was upheld due the fact that the HOD had not fully complied with the Regulations. Despite the allegations of corporal punishment and the death of a learner, the school was allowed to continue functioning because the HOD had not followed the correct procedure.
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The DA has submitted questions for oral reply to Education MEC, Reginah Mhaule asking for an overview of the HOD’s actions since the report by the state attorney in December 2014. We have also asked questions on why the HOD failed to comply with Regulation7 (1)(b)(iii), and if the HOD has faced any disciplinary measures, regarding the failure to comply with the above regulation.
MEC Mhaule must take action and not allow poor oversite by her officials to stand in the way of justice. The DA calls on the MEC to launch a campaign throughout the province that educates teachers on the use of corporal punishment, the South African Schools Act, and using non-violent measures to instil discipline.
Corporal punishment has no place in South African society; a DA government would ensure that learners are kept safe from aggressive teachers at schools so that they can learn in a conducive environment. A DA government would also ensure that teachers and officials who let corporal punishment go unresolved are dealt with swiftly so that justice is served.