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MEC Gade condemns ‘false and unfortunate’ social media claims

Oct 21, 2019
MEC Gade condemns ‘false and unfortunate’ social media claims

Bhisho - Eastern Cape MEC of Education, Fundile Gade, on Friday noted with concern and disappointment a vicious statements that his Department said were made on social media by Mrs. Khuselwa Kumbala regarding her two children that are enrolled at Crew Primary School.

"It is unfortunate that Mrs. Kumbala resorted to the strategy of using social media to attack educators and officials by name," said MEC Gade.

"Her statements are considered to be false and defamatory, and may even be considered as instigating violence and disruption of schooling.

"The department of Education has been dealing with the complaints by Mrs. Kumbala since 2018, when she alleged that one of her children was assaulted by a very senior educator at the Voorpos Primary School where the children were previously enrolled."

MEC Gade said that after an investigation was concluded, and no substance could be found in the allegations, it was agreed with Mrs. Kumbala that she would be assisted to enroll her children at another school for 2019.

"Now, after almost 9 months at the new school, Crew Primary School, she has again leveled a number of accusations against the departmental educators and educators employed by the School Governing Body (SGB)," he described.

"These allegations include allegations of victimization, threats of assault, the allegation that an educator tried to poison one of her children by adding poison to her water bottle, attempting to poison the other child by changing her lunch; and the latest allegation is that an educator tried to drown her child in the swimming pool during a lesson.

"All these allegations were investigated, and again found to be of no substance, by several teams from the department. Mrs. Kumbala has been engaged consistently during this period. In the last allegation, the educator who is alleged to have attempted to drown her child, it can be confirmed that the educator was not even at the pool at the time, but teaching in her class."

The MEC said he takes these allegations very serious.

"In complying with the constitutional obligation of the department, it is of utmost importance that every child in the province shall have access to quality education, in an environment that is safe, and conducive to education," he added.

"It is also with disappointment that the MEC has learnt that Mrs Kumbala has laid criminal charges against the school. In turn, the school has also laid counter criminal charges resulting from her disruption of classes and normal operations of the school.

"That restricts the role that the department can play in attempting to resolve impasses, as the department would not like to be seen to be obstructing the means of justice."

Gade said that the Department further intends to invite sister department, specifically the Department of Social Development, to ensure that the rights and safety of her children are upheld.

"The department will take all reasonable steps, and support the SGB and the School to protect the safety of learners and educators," the MEC said.

"We will also jealously protect teaching and learning time, and will not allow any person to obstruct the education of our learners. We call on everybody to be responsible when engaging on social media regarding this matter. It is a powerful medium, but can also be a dangerous medium, which may very cause unintended harm to individuals."

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