Family wants justice after pupil's fatal assault at school
Mbombela - The family of 14-year-old pupil Siphamandla Choma, who died in March after he was allegedly assaulted by his principal at a school in Middelburg in Mpumalanga, on Friday demanded justice from the police and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
“We are very worried because nobody tells us anything about the case. Nobody has appeared in court since Siphamandla was assaulted and died. We want justice,” said Siphamandla’s uncle and family spokesman Johannes Choma.
“We will go to the local police station this weekend to demand answers. If there is any person who assaulted Siphamandla and caused his death, that person must face the law.”
Choma said Siphamandla’s mother Christine was particularly hurt by not knowing the cause of the death of her son. He said this was because the family still did not get the postmortem results.
“Our several attempts to get the postmortem results from the Middelburg Hospital failed. This is a difficult situation for us as a family. We want to know what caused Siphamandla’s death.”
The family also demanded to know what happened to the internal disciplinary hearing instituted by the provincial education department in March against the principal.
Siphamandla was paralysed late last year following an alleged assaulted by his unnamed principal. This was after the boy was accused of stealing R150. He died on 19 March at the Middelburg Hospital, where he had been admitted to receive treatment after the assault. In March, provincial education spokesman Jasper Zwane told the African News Agency (ANA) that the first session of the disciplinary hearing against the principal sat on March 17, where he faced a charge of misconduct in connection with the assault.
Mpumalanga provincial NPA spokeswoman, Monica Nyuswa, on Friday said the investigation into Siphamandla’s death was still underway, but insisted that the prosecuting authority, the South African Police Service and the provincial department of Health were working tirelessly to ensure that justice was served. She said the NPA was still awaiting the postmortem results that would reveal the cause of the death of the pupil.
“The principal will definitely be charged with culpable homicide or assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm,” said Nyuswa.
“The charge to be faced by the principal will be determined by the results of the postmortem. The investigation is close to conclusion but I can’t say when it will be concluded.”
Spokesman for the provincial department of Health, Dumisani Malamule, said the family must ask the police to give them the postmortem results.
“We normally give the postmortem results to the police and do not make them available to anyone else,” said Malamule.
Provincial police spokesman Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said the police sent the postmortem results back [to the forensic pathology services] for further scrutiny.
“The results were sent back because they were not conclusive. I will ask the investigating officer to convey the message to the family. When the results come back, we will be informed by the NPA on what next to do,” said Hlathi.
Zwane on Friday said he was on leave and would comment about the disciplinary hearing against the principal on Monday.