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Bloemfontein - The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) has slammed the rape of a 13-year-old boy alleged by five of his classmates at a Free State school. 

The civic organisation called for united action against bullying, ill-discipline and the scourge of sexual violence in schools.

“The culture of violence must be uprooted and the dire situation arrested before it gets completely out of hand,” said Sanco spokesperson Jabu Mahlangu.

According to the provincial education department, the incident involving a Grade 7 learner occurred last week.

"It was after school and the victim was heading out when he was allegedly called by a group of boys. These boys have been causing a reign of terror at the school‚" Sanco quoted department spokesman Howard Ndaba as saying.

He said that the boys were known to be bullies and were troublesome to their teachers.

"They told him 'the boss is calling you'. This one knew not to ignore such [an instruction]‚" said Ndaba.

Mahlangu said that the country cannot afford a spike in learner dropouts because of bullying and violence in schools if it is to address poverty, unemployment and inequality, as well as overcome social ills such as gangsterism and drug addiction, along with escalating crime in communities.

He urged authorities to adopt a zero tolerance to violence in schools and summarily dismiss perpetrators to protect teachers and learners who are at risk.

“The suspects that are facing rape charges must be given stiff sentences as a deterrent,” added Mahlangu.

African News Agency/ANA