Photo by: Reuters
The DA welcomes confirmation by the South African Educators Council (SACE) that it will investigate the alleged beating of a seven-year-old KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) learner by an educator, allegedly meted out as corporal punishment.
The issue was reported to the Council by the DA last month. This after consulting with the child’s family and hearing first-hand about the brutal attack which allegedly took place at a Phoenix school.
According to reports, the learner was assaulted after she failed to bring R10 to school, for unknown reasons, as her family could not afford to do so. As a result, she was on the receiving end of the wrath of this educator and allegedly beaten with a plastic pipe.
The DA strongly condemns all forms of so-called corporal punishment. We also believe that an investigation by SACE is vital and welcome the Council’s swift response.
Despite the serious nature of the incident, KZN’s Department of Education under MEC Mbali Frazer does not appear to have acted to date. The question is: Why the MEC is sitting on her hands when assaults such as this continue to take place under her watch?
The DA expects her to explain why she and her department are dragging their heels. We want to know what steps are being taken against this educator. As far as we are aware, the teacher is still at the school – something that this young learner must deal with every day.
There is also no indication that the learner has received any psycho-social support following this ordeal despite the department having access to provide this.
The MEC has also failed, as far as we are aware, to respond to the concomitant police matter – which includes criminal and professional investigations – that is underway. We expect an update from her in this regard.
Section 10 of the South African Schools Act explicitly outlaws corporal punishment. Despite this, DA members often see pieces of plastic pipe in classrooms during school oversights.
The DA calls on MEC Frazer to direct the department to issue an urgent circular with a strong reminder to KZN’s educators that learners cannot be assaulted. We also expect her to show that she means business by coming clean about her steps in this latest incident.
This educator must be held thoroughly accountable at every level, without fear and favour. The DA remains committed to rigorous oversight within KZN’s schools and being at the forefront of upholding the rights of learners, educators and staff equally.
SACE letter Attached
Issued by Dr Imran Keeka, MPL - DA KZN Spokesperson on Education