Principal to appear in court for pupil's assault in 2016
Johannesburg - A 44-year-old former school principal is expected to appear in the Middelburg Magistrate’s Court next month on a charge of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH) in connection with the 2016 assault of a student who has since died, Mpumalanga police said on Thursday.
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.
"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 accused, the former principal of Manyano Primary School in Middelburg, is expected to appear in court on September 6. He was dismissed on July 23 after an internal disciplinary inquiry found that he had assaulted Choma, who was left paralysed.
Provincial police commissioner, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma, urged the community not to prejudge the matter but to allow the authorities to complete their investigation and allow the court to hear the case, Hlathi said.
Departmental spokesman Jasper Zwane said of the disciplinary process: "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.
“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.”
Having considered these factors and the aggravating and mitigating factors, the department concluded that an appropriate sanction in the circumstances was dismissal.
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.