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The mother of a pupil allegedly assaulted by a school principal with a hosepipe is furious because the man has been reinstated before criminal charges against him could be finalised.
The corporal punishment inflicted on the Grade 8 Diversity High pupil (now in Grade 9) in July last year – recorded by another pupil on a cellphone – sparked a national outcry after the video spread quickly on social networking sites.
The Gauteng Department of Education suspended the principal, Hosea Maboya, for two months without pay. The pupil’s parents laid assault charges.
As news of Maboya’s imminent reinstatement spread at the school last week, the pupil’s irate mother – who may not be named to protect her minor son’s identity – went to the local school district to seek answers.
She said officials had told her there was nothing they could do. The department’s spokesman, Charles Phahlane, confirmed that Maboya would resume his duties this week.
Maboya was reinstated along with a female teacher who was given a precautionary suspension after she was filmed repeatedly striking a 16-year-old girl’s knuckles with a blackboard duster. The teacher resumed duty on April 19.
“How can Mr Maboya be reinstated while there is a criminal case pending against him? I don’t think that is right. Where is justice here?” asked the mother.
She said the incident had left the boy so traumatised that he did not want to go back to Diversity High. He also wanted to leave Gauteng, she said.
“He always says he just wants to be back home in KwaZulu-Natal. I can’t go there because I’ve got a job here. He is seeing a psychologist. I’m also traumatised because my son is suffering.”
Also outraged is James Boshoff, father of a Grade 9 pupil who is a witness in the criminal case.
Boshoff insists that his identity be revealed as he wants the department to be held accountable for what he calls a complete disregard of children’s rights.
“My child is also affected because he saw the whole incident, when (the principal) closed the windows and said ‘I am going to beat you’. They talk about children, but deal with them like adults. There is evidence in the video,” said Boshoff.
“For the entire seven months, he (Maboya) was sitting at home… Couldn’t they wait until the case was concluded? Where is the justice? We need answers.”
Maboya’s reinstatement was also condemned by a teacher at the school.
“They didn’t even think about giving those children counselling. And now that they are coming back, other teachers have to keep an eye on these children because they are traumatised,” said the teacher, who asked not to be named for fear of possible reprisals.
“I do not understand why he (Maboya) was given such a lenient sentence. This will encourage other teachers to beat our children.”
Phahlane said Maboya was reinstated after an internal disciplinary process. “The hearing was conducted, there was a verdict and then a sanction. We understand the concerns of the family and we will hold a private meeting with them so that they can raise their concerns,” he said.
Phahlane said Maboya was charged with assault and found guilty in February. He served his two-month suspension without pay from March, and was expected back at school on Wednesday.
“We have requested a meeting between the principal, family and head of department Boy Ngobeni to explain to both parties that the principal has served his sentence,” Phahlane said. - The Star