KwaZulu-Natal education minister Senzo Mchunu has warned teachers who used corporal punishment to discipline pupils that they could lose their jobs.
“We would like to send a stern warning against those among us who still practice corporal punishment. As a department we view it as serious defiance, a serious offence that can lead to the termination of employment,” Mchunu said on Tuesday.
He said if there were financial implications, teachers who were found guilty would have to reimburse the department.
Mchunu lost an appeal against a man who suffered an eye injury at Gcwalulwazi High School near Eshowe nine years ago, the Witness online reported on Tuesday.
The Supreme Court of Appeal rejected Mchunu’s appeal with costs on Friday.
Simphiwe Shange, aged 15 at the time, was hit in the eye by a belt buckle while the deputy principal allegedly hit another pupil with the belt.
Shange was told his injury was “a mistake” and accepted this for three years until he was encouraged to contact the public protector.
The court noted that adults had failed Shange and that there was a strong case for him to proceed with legal action against Mchunu.
“We respect the court ruling and we do not intend to challenge it,” Mchunu said.
Meanwhile, the principal and a teacher at Meadowlands Secondary School in Johannesburg have been suspended for assaulting a student, the Gauteng education department said on Tuesday.
“They were given a sanction of two months’ suspension without pay, as well as a final written warning. The educators did not appeal their conviction and sanction,” said spokesperson Charles Phahlane.
He said the department concluded its disciplinary hearing of principal Moss Senye and teacher Fancy Phehle into the assault of a 17-year-old student in February last year, and that their suspension would be effective from June 1 until July 31.
“The department wishes to make it clear that it will deal decisively with non-adherence to policy on corporal punishment. Learners who are assaulted at school should report to the school or district office, and inform their parents so that they can open a criminal case.” – Sapa