Following the recent bullying incidents at various schools across Gauteng, MEC Panyaza Lesufi says anyone who wants to bully and harm other learners will be removed from the school.
"These children knew that I was out of the country and they started to misbehave, bullying, killing each other and doing wrong things, but I want to tell them I'm back," Lesufi said.
He was speaking at the Klipsruit-West Secondary School where he had been part of a clean-up campaign called "I Care, We Care" with members of the community, aimed at creating awareness and the protection of public property.
He said bullying and violence in schools was non-negotiable, and that the department needed to defend the rights of learners who were in those schools. This comes after a bullying incident at the Noorderlig Gekombineerde Skool in Benoni, where a 13-year-old boy died after complaining of severe headaches.
Police spokesperson Colonel Mack Mngomezulu said at the time, that the boy had been assaulted on September 4 and reported the matter to the principal.
He was allegedly again assaulted on September 14 and was found dead by his mother on September 19.
"I'm deeply, deeply worried about that case. It is a matter that I'm attending to personally, as of tomorrow we are receiving various reports. We must ensure that this matter is attended to and does not re-occur," Lesufi said. He said the department was also still waiting for a preliminary report on the case concerning Mooifontein Primary School, where a Grade 4 pupil and two friends allegedly pricked 28 classmates with syringes that the pupil had found in their bag. The needles belonged to the pupil's family member, who was allegedly using them for hormonal reasons.
At least 28 pupils had to receive urgent antiretroviral (ARV) treatment as a precaution. "We want to assure parents of the affected learners that we will do everything as the state to protect the learners. We are taking this matter very seriously and don't want parents to feel that their kids have been compromised."In another case, a learner who poured hot water on a fellow learner at Buhlebemfundo Secondary School in Tsakane, on the East Rand, had been suspended and would appear before a disciplinary committee at the school, Lesufi said. The incident occurred on September 14. On burglaries at schools, Lesufi said he battled to understand why criminals would steal from a property that was meant to serve their children. "It puzzles us; it really does not make sense."