Four pupils charged in ‘racial’ rape attack suspended

The four pupils charged with the rape and assault of another pupil in the Northern Cape have been suspended from school, pending an investigation, Beeld reported on Tuesday.

“The pupils involved received notice of suspension and an order to appear before a disciplinary committee. They have also received the charges,” said Sydney Stander, education department spokesperson.

The four – two 18-year-olds, a 15-year-old and a 14-year-old – appeared in court on Friday in connection with the rape and assault of a hostel pupil during an apparent initiation at the Agricultural High School, and were granted bail.

Stander said the school governing body must follow due process relating to the alleged attack, and is the only body which can take disciplinary steps at school level.

The school’s process is separate to the criminal charges and procedures, the South African Press Association reported.

The Mail & Guardian reported that the pupils from the Jan Kempdorp High School were taken to court last week on charges of rape and assault.

Northern Cape police spokesperson, Colonel Priscilla Naidu, said the four learners alleged to have committed the act were charged and taken to court on Friday. The victim’s mother, who lives in Posmasburg, contacted the police who then went to the school, where the learners were charged. 

A video of the incident shows the boy tied to a school bed, crying and screaming while the learners rubbed a white substance on his body and raped him.

In a statement, Northern Cape education MEC Grizelda Cjiekella-Lecholo said she was at a loss for words.

“This type of behaviour is un-African, inhumane and does not belong in our schooling system. I am going to ensure that these boys face the full might of our due process and the law … ” she said.

Cjiekella-Lecholo added that her department “cannot continue to bend over for those who continue to reject the changes that have been embraced by many in our country”.

The young boy is receiving trauma counselling. – Staff reporter

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