KZN school faces R2.5 million ‘torture’ suit

BY CHARL BOSCH - SEPTEMBER 4, 2014
The family of a 14-year old former pupil at a Pietermaritzburg high-school is demanding a settlement of R2.5-million after it was revealed, in May, that the boy had been tortured by perfects during an initiation process.

The family of a 14-year old former pupil at a Pietermaritzburg high-school is demanding a settlement of R2.5-million after it was revealed, in May, that the boy had been tortured by perfects during an initiation process.

According to The Witness newspaper, the parents first became aware after noticing third-degree burns on the boy’s body which he claimed had come from playing rugby, but was later discovered to have originated from a steam-iron. This was reportedly preceded by a three-month run of emotional and physical abuse.

In a letter, the boy stated that Grade 8 learners faced daily beatings at the hands of matrics, usually with pipes and belts, were forced to run naked down passages where they would be struck, had pictures taken of them without clothing, had to drink a combination of water and vinegar and then perform intensive physical training, and beg for money whereby they would be beaten if not meeting a pre-assigned amount.

Speaking at the time of the indecent, the boy’s mother said that she had taken him out of school and that the entire experience had been traumatising.

“What they did to my son was sadistic. I am just concerned about the boys who remain behind because these matrics can still get to them,” she said.

She also said that the never talked about the beatings as he was too scared and that he was told to keep quiet about it.

“My ex-husband had noticed marks on his body before and questioned him about it - and he said it was just from rugby. When his burn wound wasn’t healing, one of the prefects took him to a teacher who told him that he must not tell his parents, and if we find out, he must say the injury is from rugby.”

A total of four matric learners at the Vootrekker High School, believed to have part of the incident, have since broken their silence by issuing a hand written letter of apology to the boy, stating that they believed to be ‘acting in the boy’s best interest’ and ‘shaping and preparing him for the rest of high school’.

“We would like to formally apologise to you for the trauma we have caused you and your family through the grotesque traditions we encouraged you to take part in during you time at Voortrekker High School,” the letter said.

“Through the events that have taken place over the last two months, we have realised the magnitude of the effect that our actions have had on the people around us. We have come to understand, with your assistance, that all our actions have a far greater influence on everything and everyone around us than what we could ever have imagined.

“We unfortunately did not foresee these events causing such a negative deviation from the path that you had already chosen to follow. [But] we can now grow to strive and aspire to be proud individuals through the countless lessons we have learnt. We hope that you can find it in your heart and grace to accept our deepest apologies.”

The parents have demanded that R425 000 be paid by the MEC for Education in the province, Peggy Nkonyeni, the four matrics and school principal, Jan Nel, within 14 days.

 

IMAGE sourced from timeslive.co.za