Pupils on rampage after alleged assault

Cape Town 27-09-11-Pupils outside Chris Hani school in Khayelitsha Picture Brenton Geach

Cape Town 27-09-11-Pupils outside Chris Hani school in Khayelitsha Picture Brenton Geach

Published Sep 27, 2011

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Enraged Khayelitsha matrics have trashed their school after two Bambanani security guards allegedly beat a pupil so badly that he could be paralysed.

Malibongwe Melani, 18, is undergoing a series of tests in Tygerberg Hospital and is waiting to hear what damage was caused during the attack.

Malibongwe was allegedly attacked by Bambanani guards at the gates of Chris Hani High School last week, on the morning of an economics exam.

The matric pupil sustained serious spinal injuries after the guards allegedly picked him up and threw him on the ground during an argument about a cellphone.

He said he was angry at the school’s principal, Madoda Mahlutshana, whom he said should be fired for not intervening.

“He (the principal) must be arrested. I’m in pain. I want to be well so I can go and write my exams.

“My spine is broken, I can move a bit, but it’s painful when I move,” said Malibongwe from his hospital bed on Monday.

Leticia Pienaar, spokeswoman for Tygerberg Hospital, said there was no indication yet that Malibongwe was paralysed.

“We are running tests and waiting on results. Those results will determine further treatment and, if necessary, operations,” Pienaar said.

Captain Frederick van Wyk, spokesman for the Western Cape SAPS, said two suspects had been arrested after the incident.

“The two security guards are currently on bail and are to reappear on assault charges on October 20,” said Van Wyk.

Malibongwe’s mother, Noni Melani, demanded Mahlutshana’s axing and compensation for her son’s suffering and hospital bills.

“I’m sick. I live in this hospital because my son is here.

“I want my child to be well and to pass Grade 12,” said Melani.

“Children are supposed to be protected at school. The principal needs to answer to this. He should get fired,” said Melani.

This morning, pupils gathered outside the school, refusing to enter the grounds.

Members of the school governing body tried to convince them to assemble in classrooms and get to work, but matrics burned rubbish outside the school gates and said they would not enter.

This followed violent protests at the school on Monday, during which pupils set bins and tyres alight, broke windows, doors and furniture and damaged teachers’ cars to show their anger at Mahlutshana.

At one point, angry pupils chased Mahlutshana off the school grounds.

Police were called to the school on Monday and fired rubber bullets to disperse the pupils. One pupil was arrested for damaging police vehicles.

Police officers were at the school on Tuesday, keeping a close eye on the pupils.

Mahlutshana was also back at the school, watching the pupils who were gathered outside. He refused to speak to the Cape Argus, saying the Western Cape Education Department would handle all queries.

At the time of going to press, school governing body members were trying to convince the Student Representative Council to have a meeting with the principal.

Some Grade 9 pupils told the Cape Argus this morning that they had not been able to write a Xhosa exam on Monday and would miss a life orientation exam on Tuesday. The matrics did not write an English paper on Monday, after telling teachers that they would not write without Malibongwe.

Some pupils on Monday told the Cape Argus they had ongoing problems with Mahlutshana’s leadership.

Paddy Attwell, spokesman for the Western Cape Education Department, said though the department was confident that the principal had no involvement in the incident, they were still investigating.

“The principal has confirmed that he was on the scene and intervened to stop the assault. The Western Cape Education Department views this incident in a very serious light and is investigating,” said Attwell. - Cape Argus

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