A seven-year-old learner was allegedly assaulted at Ottawa Primary School in KwaZulu-Natal, apparently after she was accused of stealing R10.
Imran Keeka, the DA’s provincial spokesperson on education, says he met with the girl’s family on Wednesday, who told a different story than what was reported. According to her grandmother, the learner was asked to bring R10 to school for unknown reasons. When the child and the family could not afford it, she was violently assaulted with a pipe by a teacher.
“The case now forms part of a police investigation, but the DA expects the MEC for education, Mbali Frazer, to launch an internal investigation.”
Keeka says it is a trend within provincial schools that when such incidents occur, no suspensions follow. “It leaves the alleged victims in the same place as the person accused of assaulting the person. This is unacceptable.”
Keeka emphasizes that corporal punishment is illegal. “Article 10 of the South African Schools Act is very clear about this and every teacher must know this.”
So far, the provincial department of education has not taken any action against a teacher who was recently found guilty of similar conduct. “This while we know children are still being beaten at some schools.”
The DA expects Frazer to ensure that the teacher, who is allegedly involved in the latest incident, will be suspended pending the outcome of the police and internal investigation.
“If the teacher is found guilty, she must be properly charged for bullying and beating a young girl.”
The DA will also request the South African Council of Educators (SACE) in writing to launch its own investigation into the incident.
“Quality teaching cannot take place in a dangerous environment. We send our children to school expecting them to be cared for by those we trust to do so. When this trust is broken, it must be viewed in a serious light.”
Keeka says safe schools are those with good leadership, proper infrastructure and where parents are involved. “This is the way forward to ensure the best results for our young people.”