A teacher at a high school in Hammarsdale, just outside of Durban, has laid a charge of assault against a 20-year-old pupil after a video of the pupil attacking him with his fists on the school grounds went viral on social media. Picture: Screengrab

Johannesburg - The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education said on Monday it had suspended a 20-year-old Grade 11 pupil who was involved in a physical fight with a teacher at a school in Hammarsdale, west of Durban.

The pupil had reportedly tried to disrupt an examination, according to the Daily News.

The teacher, Sunday Ajibabi, had opened a case of assault against the pupil on Sunday. The incident took place at the Luthayi High School in Hammarsdale, near Pinetown.

In the video, the pupil was seen allegedly beating the teacher with his fists. The assault, which was caught on a cellphone camera, shows the teacher and the pupil pulling and shoving each other before the pupil launches a number of punches at the teacher. The attack is stopped when a group of pupils intervene.

“In the wake of a video clip that has gone viral on social media showing a physical altercation between an educator and a learner within the school premises, the Department of Education in KZN has decided to suspend the learner with immediate effect pending disciplinary hearing which is due to be held within the next 5 working days,” said Kwazi Mthethwa, a spokesperson for the Department of Education in KZN.

A teacher at a high school in Hammarsdale, just outside of Durban, has laid a charge of assault against a 20-year-old pupil after a video of the pupil attacking him with his fists on the school grounds went viral on social media

Mthethwa said KZN Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu welcomed the suspension and HAD reiterated a firm stance against abuse of both teachers and pupils.

“The schooling system has disciplinary measures in place and we will use such prescripts to determine the appropriate course of action. The Department of Education in KwaZulu-Natal has over the years proven to be completely intolerant of any abusive offences such as assault‚ intimidation‚ bullying, drug dealing and sexual violence,” said Mthethwa.  

Mthethwa said they would monitor the situation and provide support for the teacher and would also ensure that the pupil would be given an opportunity to write his examinations that were already underway.

Scelo Bhengu, the president of the Education Union of South Africa told the Daily News that the teacher and his family were deeply embarrassed that the incident that had gone viral on social media.

Bhengu said now that the teacher had opened the case and they hoped the police would arrest him.

“The arrest of the pupil will send out a strong message to other hooligans masquerading as pupils that EUSA is not taking the safety of teachers lightly. We are disturbed by this incident and we are going to make sure that the law takes its course,” said Bhengu.  

KZN police confirmed they were investigating a case of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

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