School teacher Fikile Nkambule appeared in the Witbank Magistrate’s Court in Mpumalanga for allegedly locking a Grade 1 learner in a school’s strong room for the whole night. Picture: Balise Mabona/ANA

Emalahleni - A school teacher who was arrested for allegedly locking a six-year-old pupil in a school’s strong room for the whole night was on Monday granted R2 000 bail by the Magistrate’s Court in Emalahleni, Mpumalanga.

Teacher Fikile Nkambule, 30, was arrested on Friday and charged with kidnapping and child neglect, provincial police spokesman Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said.  

Presenting the bail application in court on Monday, Nkambule’s defence lawyer who was only identified as Advocate Zwane, asked the court to grant her client bail for several reasons, which included the fact that she is four months pregnant.

“The applicant is the first-time offender, a teacher, a mother of a nine-year-old child. She also submitted herself to the police after learning that she was wanted by the police,” said advocate Zwane.

Magistrate Mdumiseni Mavuso considered the factors that were presented by advocate Zwane and granted Nkambule bail.

The case was postponed to April 26 for further investigations.

Speaking after the court proceedings had been concluded the six-year-old pupil's grandparent, Mbuzeni Mathebula, said: "He often jumps up while asleep at night and covers his face with his hands as if there is someone trying to hit him. 

"We don’t know why the teacher locked him in that room and he is also asking us this question repeatedly”.

Jasper Zwane, spokesman for the provincial education department, said the incident happened on Wednesday at Blackhill Primary School in Emalahleni, when Nkambule allegedly locked the grade one pupil in a strong room in the afternoon. 

The teacher apparently forgot to let him out before she knocked off work and went home.

“His parents got worried when he did not arrive home at the usual time,” said Jasper Zwane.

“They searched for him in vain and reported the matter to the police. "The parents were told the following day that the teacher forgot the learner in the strong room." 

Jasper Zwane said the teacher has been suspended and the department has started a process to render counselling to the learner and the parents. 

African News Agency (ANA)