The preliminary report of an investigation into an incident that left a 14-year-old Mpumalanga school pupil paralysed has revealed that he might have been assaulted, the provincial Education department said on Friday.
“The report talks about the probabilities. It says he might have been assaulted, but I don’t want to get into the merits of the report at this stage,” said spokesperson for the department Jasper Zwane.
Siphamandla Choma was allegedly assaulted by an educator at Manyano Primary School in Mhluzi township in Middelburg late last year. This was after Siphamandla was accused of stealing R150. The educator was suspended last month and the department started an investigation into the matter.
Zwane told the African News Agency (ANA) that Education MEC Reginah Mhaule had brought in a new team from the national department this week to strengthen and continue with the investigation into the incident. He said the final report of the probe would be released at the end of this month.
“He remains suspended on full pay. We need to close all the grounds. The MEC wants to avoid a situation where a person walks scott-free,” said Zwane.
Mhaule met Siphamandla’s family and they visited the boy at the hospital on Wednesday, added Zwane. He said the wheelchair-bound pupil was recovering well.
Mpumalanga provincial secretary of the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu), Walter Hlaise, said he did not see the preliminary report but called on teachers and principals in general to refrain from assaulting pupils.
He said the teachers’ union was disturbed by reports of assaults of pupils by teachers that took place at various schools in other parts of the province in the past.
“We have seen reports of assaults and we advise teachers to respect the law of this country,” said Hlaise.
– African News Agency