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Johannesburg -  A 44-year-old former school principal is expected to appear in the Middelburg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, on a charge of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH) in connection with the 2016 assault of a 14-year-old student who has since died. 

On August 10, Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said the incident took place at a school in Mhluzi, near Middelburg last year. 

“According to information at [the] police’s disposal, on 04 August 2016, the suspect allegedly assaulted a 14-year-old learner, Siphamandla Fana Choma who has since passed on,” Hlathi said at the time. 

“The cause of death of Choma is unknown at the moment, however, the police opened an inquest docket to probe his death, for which only preliminary post mortem results were received but sent back for further processing. The final post mortem results are still awaited before the matter can be finalised.”

The former principal of Manyano Primary School in Middelburg , was dismissed on July 23 after an internal disciplinary inquiry found that he had assaulted Choma, who was left paralysed.

The provincial education department dismissed the principal after considering the factors and the aggravating and mitigating factors.

“The department found that the principal violated the sacrosanct responsibility of protecting learners in the school. His conduct has brought the efficiency and administration of the department into disrepute," departmental spokesman Jasper Zwane said at the time. 

“In terms of section 10 of the South African Schools Act number 84 of 1998, corporal punishment is prohibited. This section provides further that any person who contravenes it is guilty of assault and is liable to a sentence that may be imposed for assault.” 

Choma was accused of stealing R150. He died on March 19 at the Middelburg Hospital, where he was admitted for treatment after the alleged assault.