15 May 2018

South Africa: Parents Stop Teaching At Primary School After Allegations of Corporal Punishment

Teaching was disrupted on Monday at Zamokuhle Primary School in D Section, KwaMashu, Durban, after angry parents locked the school gate. The parents demanded the principal call officials of the education department to address their concerns.

Parents accuse seven teachers of using corporal punishment. They also say the school principal and a head of department had a fight in front of the children. Parents are also angry that a teacher proposed that Grade 7 learners pay R1 per learner per day for a stokvel to hold a farewell party at the end of the year, and R1 per learner for rental of a space for extramural music practise.

One of the protesting parents, Samkelo Shelembe, said, "We heard that there are teachers who are using coat hangers in this school to beat our children." He said they heard a student had been sent to a clinic for stitches to the head.

Chairperson of the school governing body Thoko Hlatshwayo said teachers and an official from the KwaMashu circuit office had met. It was decided that the teacher accused of beating learners with a coat hanger be suspended pending an investigation.

Spokesperson for the KZN education department Kwazi Mthethwa said the provincial level of the department was not aware of the situation at Zamokuhle Primary, but would contact the district to start investigating the allegations.

"It is not a good thing that the education of learners be disrupted in any way. The teachers should conduct themselves well, so that the learners' right to education should not be violated," said Mthethwa.

Teaching recommenced on Tuesday.

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