Picture: Supplied
Picture: Supplied

Council for Educators ’lenient on teachers meting out corporal punishment to pupils’

By Gift Tlou Time of article published Jan 20, 2021

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Johannesburg - The South African Council for Educators (Sace) has come under fire for its sanctioning of teachers involved in corporal punishment.

This comes after Section27 expressed its concerns over the council’s intervention on corporal punishment cases reported to the organisation.

One of the incidents involve a learner attending Grade 2 at a primary school in Gauteng who was hit on the back of his head with a PVC pipe by a teacher.

In a second incident, a Limpopo teacher reportedly struck a Grade 5 learner on her cheek and then on her head, which led to the learner experiencing a lasting bleed from her ears requiring her to visit several doctors.

Section27 has since deemed the punishments handed to both teachers inadequate and launched a review of these decisions in the High Court of South Africa, Gauteng Division.

Both teachers are said to have pleaded guilty to their misconduct and the sentences imposed on them included their removal from the roll of educators. However, this sanction was suspended for 10 years, allowing the teachers to continue working for as long as they are not found guilty of another misconduct. The teachers received a fine of R15000, of which R5 000 was suspended, leaving a R10 000 payable over 12 months.

The National Association of School Governing Bodies general secretary, Matakanya Matakanye, said they were concerned with the council’s disciplinary procedures.

“We totally oppose corporal punishments in our schools and we are aware of the fact that learners are still subject to such conditions.”

Matakanye said they reported several corporal punishment cases to the educators’ council and the outcome was not pleasing.

“In some of these cases you find that the parents are not active enough because some of them were socialised in a sense that a child should be beaten as a way of discipline.”

Education activist Hendrick Makaneta said the council was unequipped to deal with corporal punishment.

“The sad truth is that they don’t have enough capacity to instil discipline among teachers.”

Makaneta said the educators council does not have enough staff and that there was a need for them to expand to other provinces.

“Sace is based in Pretoria and there is another branch in KZN, only two. Now cases from Limpopo and other provinces have to be shared among those two offices, obviously some outcomes will be questionable.”

According to Makaneta, the influence of unions also has a devastating impact on disciplinary procedures of some teachers.

“There is patriotism among comrades, if a person belongs to a union, chances are that he/she will be shielded because some of them occupy roles of shop stewards in these unions.”

Sace spokesperson Thembinkosi Ndhlovu confirmed that the matter is at the High Court and that it is sub judice, as the council is opposing it.

“Sace will only comment on this after the court proceedings,” he said.

The Star

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