South Africa: Cabinet Raises Concern Over Bullying Incidents

Cabinet has expressed concern about the prevalence of bullying in schools.

This comes after recent incidents of bullying at Mbilwi Secondary School in Thohoyandou, Limpopo, Dinwiddie High School in Germiston, Gauteng and Mathole High School in KwaZulu-Natal.

"Cabinet urged education stakeholders, including parents and guardians, to unite against bullying to create an environment that is conducive to learning.

"It is the responsibility of each one of us to speak up and report incidents of bullying to the relevant authorities, particularly where the victims are unable or afraid to do so," acting Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said on Thursday.

Addressing the media on the outcomes of a Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday, Ntshavheni said Cabinet was saddened by the death of 15-year-old Lufuno Mavhunga from Mbilwi Secondary School in Thohoyandou, Limpopo.

Mavhunga reportedly took her life after a video, which captured her being bullied, became public.

Cabinet has called on authorities to speedily investigate the matter and ensure effective justice.

Cabinet also conveyed condolences to the Mavhunga family and her friends.

Hate crimes

Cabinet has condemned the recent rise of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer (LGBTIQ+) hate crimes that resulted in the deaths of Andile Ntuthela, Siphamandla Khoza and Nathaniel Mbele.

"The Bill of Rights enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996 calls on us to respect the rights of all members of society without any form of discrimination. These heinous crimes and acts of harassment have no place in our democracy, and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms by all of us," Ntshavheni said.

Cabinet encouraged the public who have information that could lead to arrests and prosecutions of the perpetrators to contact the police through the toll-free number 10111 or visit the nearest police station.

Cabinet further condemned the recent killing of two brothers, Zenzele and Amos Coka, on a farm in Mpumalanga.

The siblings were part of a group of farm dwellers seeking employment as seasonal farmworkers.

"Cabinet commended police for the quick response in arresting the alleged offenders who have since appeared at the Piet Retief Magistrate's Court.

"Cabinet called for calm in the community to allow justice to take its course and ensure that those found guilty face the full might of the law," the Minister said.

Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill

Meanwhile, Cabinet has approved the submission of the Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill to Parliament.

The Bill amends Section 154(3) of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act 51 of 1977), which a Constitutional Court judgement found to be failing to protect the identity of child victims of crime in criminal proceedings.

"The current clause protects the identity of child offenders, victims and witnesses against the harmful effect of the publication of their involvement in criminal proceedings up to the age of 18 years.

"The proposed amendments prohibit the publication of any information, which reveals or may reveal the identity of an accused or a witness who is or was under the age of 18 years at the time of the alleged offence. Publication may only be done after it has been authorised by the judicial officer or presiding judge," the Minister said.

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