As previously reported on, a teacher from Siyamukela High School in Madadeni burned six learners for being disobedient. The incident took place on 29 September 2020, when it was brought to light that the educator had assaulted the learners.
However, conflicting reports surrounding the incident have surfaced. Initially, it was reported the teacher had poured boiling water over the learners while they were sleeping in his class. Other reports now also claim the pupils returned to class late, following their lunch break and this set the teacher off.
This allegedly angered the teacher, who apparently made the learners wait outside the class. He then allegedly sent another pupil to fill a kettle with boiling water, which he then poured over the six learners.
Following the incident, the Select Committee on Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture, now voices its concern. The committee states it condemns any form of violence and stringent punishment against learners, irrespective of the reason.
The Chairperson of the committee, Mr Elleck Nchabeleng, has stated, “This is not a form of discipline, it is abuse. We will not allow teachers to take out their frustrations on our learners.”
Furthermore, he says this form of punishment is a contravention of section 10 of the Schools Act, which prohibits corporal punishment at a school to a learner.
The committee now welcomes the news that the South African Council for Educators (SACE) will be launching its own investigation into the matter. The committee calls on both the Kwazulu-Natal Education Department and SACE to fast-track their investigations.
Looking at the incident and the current investigations, Dr Imran Keeka, DA KZN Spokesperson on Education, explains, “If proved to be true, the actions of this educator are not only sickening; but also requires stern action by KwaZulu-Natal’s (KZN) Department of Education (DoE). An example must be set that this kind of madness should not and cannot be tolerated.”
This he says, is because the South African Schools Act in Section 10 is crystal clear when it states under the heading of the prohibition of corporal punishment, inter alia, “that no person may administer corporal punishment at a school to a learner and that any person who contravenes this subsection is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a sentence which could be imposed for assault.”
Additionally, with the investigation process underway, he says, “It must also, be remembered that corporal punishment is a criminal act and so charges should and must be served to ensure that SAPS conduct their own probe.”
He emphasises the DA will follow up on progress made in getting to the bottom of this potentially unlawful act by submitting a written parliamentary question to KZN Education MEC, Kwazi Mshengu.
He adds, “In addition, we will ask whether the learners concerned have been provided with counselling and emotional support. Our schools should be well-resourced safe havens of quality education – not places where learners are beaten to a pulp or scalded with boiling water.”
As the incident is now being investigated, what are your thoughts on the situation? What steps do you feel need to be taken against the educator if he is found guilty? Do you feel teachers are being pushed to their limits based on unruly children?
Share your views with us in the comment section below.
Author: Quinton Boucher
Edited: Calvin Swemmer