National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) members protest at the Mankwe Magistrate's Court in Mogwase during the court appearance of Itumeleng Letsepe accused of assaulting a teacher. Picture: ANA

Rustenburg - A parent and two North West primary school teachers appeared in separate courts in the province on charges of assault committed at two different schools.

Itumeleng Lizbeth Letsepe, 40, is appearing in the Mankwe Magistrate's Court in Mogwase for the alleged assault on a primary school teacher Mpuseng Sepotokele, 53. Letsepe is facing a charge of assault with the intention to do grievous bodily harm.

The Grade 3 teacher told the court she was beaten with an umbrella by Letsepe on February 22 at the school gate when she arrived for work at Leema Primary School in Tlhatlhaganyane, about 60km north west of Rustenburg.

The incident took place in full view of learners arriving for school.

She sustained wounds to the head, right arm and right hand. She had a two centimetre cut at the back of her head and a stitch behind the right ear.  Sepotokele also sustained a 1.5 centimetre laceration to the elbow, while her middle finger was fractured. She told he court she has frequent headaches following the attack

An enraged Letsepe had accused Sepotokele of being abusive towards her son. Her son had come come crying, alleging that Sepotokele had slapped him.

Letsepe claims she acted as a concerned parent and wanted to stop the teacher from abusing her son. 

Sepotokele maintains that she could never abuse a child. 

She was considering taking early retirement due to the injury on her hand.

"I am injured on my right hand, I use it for writing and marking as a teacher. It is still painful to use now. I still go to physiotherapy for this hand," she told the  court.

She had also moved out of Leema Primary School.

"I felt unsafe in the environment I was in. I did not want the trauma of teaching the child and having to deal with the woman that almost killed me," she said.

The case was postponed to July 25.

National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) North West provincial chairman, Ephraim Ditlopo, told African News Agency (ANA) that the teachers' union was concerned about the state of safety in schools.

"We are here [in Mogwase] with the basic intention of supporting our member who was assaulted by one of the parents in school. 

"We are greatly concerned by the fact that there are no policies that safeguard all people and persons who are going to schools, members of staff even learners who are assaulted almost everyday," he said.

In Tlhabane, near Rustenburg, two teachers from Motladi Kgoadigoadi Primary School are appearing in the Bafokeng Magistrae's Court for allegedly assaulting two minor siblings - a boy and his sister.

A nine-year-old boy sustained a wound to his knee after his teacher allegedly kicked him with a high-heeled shoe in July 2018.

The 55-year-old teacher appeared in the regional court on June 5 on a charge of assault with the intention to cause grievous bodily harm. Her case was postponed to July 5 for the State to consult witnesses and to give her lawyer time to prepare a representation to court.

Her 53-year-old colleague also appeared in the regional court on June 20 for the alleged assault of a ten-year-old girl.

He allegedly used a broom stick to beat the child for playing in the rain in January 2018. The girl suffered a swollen hand.

The beating, according to their father, was an attempt by the school to force him to take his children to another school.

The father claimed that prior to the beating, his children told him they were told at school that he should transfer them to another school.

He alleged this was a result of an acrimonious relationship between him and the school management after he alleged the school's finances were clumsily handled. He approached the public protector to launch an investigation after which he claimed he was removed as a member of the school governing body.

On May 6, his children were sent back home. He said when he went to the district office, he was told to go back to the school the following day.

He was met by a group of angry parents when he arrived on May 7. They allegedly accused him of causing trouble at their school and kicked his children out of school.

The children had not been at school since May 7 and missed out writing their mid-year examinations.

"All I want is for children to go back to school by the next school term,"  he said.

African News Agency (ANA)