Many rural schools across South Africa still use the unhygienic bucket system. File picture: Paballo Thekiso
Many rural schools across South Africa still use the unhygienic bucket system. File picture: Paballo Thekiso

Principal charged after forcing pupil to search pit toilet for his missing cellphone

By Lou-Anne Daniels Time of article published Mar 16, 2021

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The principal of an Eastern Cape primary school has been suspended and charged with attempted murder, after he allegedly forced a pupil to search for his missing cellphone in a pit toilet.

Spokesperson for the Eastern Cape Education Department Vuyiseka Mboxela confirmed that the principal of Luthuthu Junior Secondary School, in the Joe Gqabi district, told an 11-year-old pupil to search for the cellphone which had fallen into the toilet.

The incident reportedly happened on March 1. It is believed that the man dropped his cellphone in the staff pit toilet and used a rope to lower the child into the pit to retrieve the device.

“It’s beyond the word terrible, it’s inhumane. It’s an incident that you wouldn’t expect to be done by any person, irrespective of the position they are in,” Mboxela told the SAFM Sunrise breakfast show yesterday morning.

“It’s an incident which the whole provincial government is ashamed of. The MEC has expressed disbelief and has instructed quick action to be taken against the principal,” she said.

She confirmed that the principal has been suspended and that he will appear before a disciplinary panel on April 8.

Mboxela said the department is providing psychosocial support for the pupil and the teachers at the school.

Eastern Cape police spokesperson Captain Khaya Tonjeni has confirmed that 49-year-old man was arrested on a charge of attempted murder on Monday. He was expected to appear in the Nqanqarhu (Maclear) Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

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