Learners from Sithembele Matiso High School in Nyanga have expressed their fear of attending school due to alleged beatings by their deputy principal. Reports indicate that last week on Thursday, the deputy principal allegedly assaulted all learners from a grade 11 class, except for four individuals.
According to one 18-year-old learner, who requested anonymity, the learners were targeted because they did not bring certain books to class. Allegedly, this incident is not an isolated one, as learners share that they have endured physical abuse from the same teacher for some time. Now, however, they have reached their breaking point and are unable to continue under such conditions. Several students are even skipping lessons for fear of experiencing further violence.
On Thursday, August 24, one learner managed to capture the latest incident on camera. The video footage shows the teacher physically assaulting a male student on the buttocks. Witnesses have shared that female learners received four strokes on their hands, while male learners were given the choice between two strokes on the buttocks or four strokes on their hands.
One student displayed a bandaged hand, claiming it was injured as a result of the punishment. Additionally, a learner who refused to be subjected to the beating was instructed to go home and bring a parent. Allegedly, the student did not return to school on Friday or Monday following the incident.
A concerned parent, choosing to remain anonymous, shared her 17-year-old son’s account of being assaulted by the teacher. She expressed confusion and frustration, questioning why such incidents are allowed to occur within the school. Neither learners nor parents have yet filed a formal complaint with the police, opting instead to engage with the relevant department.
Bronagh Hammond, the spokesperson for the Western Cape Department of Education, addressed the allegations and assured the public that a thorough investigation would take place. She said both the South African Schools Act (SASA), 1996 (Act 84 of 1996), and the National Education Policy Act (NEPA), 1996 (Act 27 of 1996) clearly prohibit corporal punishment in schools. Consequently, such acts of physical punishment are considered assault.