Durban - The KwaZulu-Natal Basic Education Department is probing new allegations of corporal punishment at one of its schools.
This time, a teacher at Pinetown Boys’ High School stands accused of allegedly beating a 15-year-old boy with a computer cable.
The boy’s father said the lashing was a consequence of one of his son’s friends having tossed his school bag across the classroom.
A photograph - which the father said was taken that night - shows raised lash marks spanning the width of the boy’s back.
“And that was through a blazer, a shirt and a vest,” he told The Mercury on Thursday. He said the incident took place late last month, and that at first his son did not want to tell him about it.
“I only picked it up after he got out of the shower that evening and I saw these stripes on his back,” he said. “I had to give him the third degree to get what had happened out of him. He was intimidated.”
The father said he had laid charges at the Pinetown police station. Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane confirmed that a case of common assault was being investigated.
“The docket was taken to a senior public prosecutor for a decision,” Zwane said.
The father said he had reported the incident to the school principal, who told him he had elevated it to a district level. But, he said, a month later the teacher was still at school and had allegedly beaten another boy as recently as this week.
Principal Raysellan Naidoo confirmed on Thursday that the teacher in question was still at school. He said the department was taking action, but that they were busy collecting reports. Naidoo said he could not comment further.
Department spokesperson Sihle Mlotshwa said corporal punishment was a serious offence that could lead to expulsion. “We have asked the district to pursue the matter and act accordingly. We take these allegations very seriously,” he said.
A series of videos of corporal punishment - which was banned in the 1990s - being administered at KZN schools has emerged in recent months. Most recently, a clip of a teacher laying into a female pupil at an unidentified school surfaced earlier this month.