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TEACHER ARRESTED FOR SEVERELY BASHING PUPIL

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SITEKI – A primary school boy was left with a bruised lip, swollen cheek and bruise marks on his back after he was severely whipped by a teacher.
*John (10) of Gilgal Primary School had to be rushed to Sithobela Health Centre for treatment following the beating.


The incident happened last Friday afternoon, during ‘cleaning time’, the school’s administration said.
According to the mother of the pupil, the teacher whipped the pupil for allegedly defying her orders.


“He told me that the teacher had informed them to clean their classroom and then go to play. After arranging the furniture inside the classroom, he went to play but the teacher was not happy with this,” said the mother of the boy, who did not give her name.


Whipped


She said the teacher then whipped the boy in front of other pupils, accusing him of being defiant.
“He tried to run away but he fell to the ground. Instead, of picking him up, the teacher continued to whip him and even kicked him,” the parent alleged.
She wondered why the teacher had targeted her son only, since there were other pupils who had gone to play instead of cleaning the classroom.


The mother said after the incident, the pupil returned home and the teacher did not take him to hospital, despite that the boy was seriously injured.
“I was not at home when he arrived but when I came back in the evening, I realised that he needed medical attention. I personally administered first aid to him and a community health motivator (umgcugcuteli) provided painkillers,” the mother said.


The young boy was then taken to Sithobela Health Centre, where he was treated and discharged.
On Monday, the parent approached the school’s administration to lodge a formal complaint.


She showed the school’s administration the bruise marks on the boy’s back, the swollen cheek and the bruised lips.
The school’s administration apologised profusely to the parent.


“I’m not privy to what happened on the day the pupil was injured since I was not around school. The parent reported the incident and we have also informed our superiors about it,” said the school Head teacher, Nomsa Gwebu. She further mentioned that the pupil had since returned to class, adding that the teacher was also continuing with her duties.


Locked


Lubombo Regional Education Officer (REO) Musa Mthupha said he was locked in a meeting when called yesterday afternoon.
It’s understood that regional education officials are investigating the matter after it was formally reported by the school’s administration.
 After she did not get a satisfactory explanation from the school’s administration, the parent of the boy approached Siphofaneni police to open a case against the teacher.


Consequently, the teacher was arrested and charged for allegedly bashing the young boy.
Thulile Fortunate Mhlanga (39), a teacher at Gilgal Primary School, was charged with contravening Section 48 (1) of The Children Protection and Welfare Act no: 6/2012.


“...the said accused being a teacher of John (10), did unlawfully and physically abuse the said (pupil) by assaulting him with a stick several times on the back body and (further) kicked him on the stomach,”  reads in part the charge sheet.


Mhlanga appeared before Magistrate Dumisani Mazibuko, who was sitting at the Big Bend Circuit Court.
She elected to conduct her own defence, when her right to legal representation was explained to her.


When the charges were put to her, Mhlanga pleaded guilty to the offence.
Prosecutors accepted her plea, further informing the court that they would not lead evidence.


Evidence


However, the public prosecutor handed in a report by the doctor, who examined the pupil, as part of the evidence.
The Magistrate postponed the matter to July 3, 2019.
Mhlanga applied for bail and her application was not opposed by prosecutors.


She was released on E5 000 bail, which was accompanied by conditions.
A couple of years ago, government banned corporal punishment in schools in favour of positive discipline.


However, it seems some teachers are simple failing or else reluctant to comply with the ban.
Since the ban was formally pronounced by the erstwhile Minister of Education and Training, Phineas Magagula, there have been many incidences of teachers bashing pupils.


One of the most shocking incidences was when a 17-year-old boy from Nkonjwa Primary School died after he was allegedly whipped severely by a teacher.
*Not his real name to protect minor.

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