Middleburg – The principal of a school in Mpumalanga, who allegedly assaulted a 14-year-old pupil and left him paralysed, will be departmentally charged in connection with the incident, Basic Education MEC Reginah Mhaule said yesterday.
“Due process will commence so that a platform is created for the principal to answer, meaning that the principal will be charged with misconduct,” said Mhaule, speaking at a media briefing in Mbombela.
While the principal is suspended and will face disciplinary charges, Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said the principal had not been criminally charged.
“We sent statements to the public prosecutor and are still waiting for a decision on whether to prosecute,” said Hlathi.
Siphamandla Choma was allegedly assaulted by the unnamed principal at Manyano Primary School in Mhluzi township late last year.
This was after the boy was accused of stealing R150.
The principal was suspended in January and the department started investigations.
A preliminary report into the investigation last month revealed that Siphamandla may have been assaulted.
Mhaule said she had received another report into the investigation, adding that the department was also facing a R25 million lawsuit as a result of the incident.
“The report recommended that disciplinary action be preferred against the principal for contravening section 10 of the South African Schools Act and section17(1) of the Employment of Educators Act 76 of 1998,” she said.
“We confirm a receipt of a R25m lawsuit in this regard and we are going to defend it accordingly. I visited the family and received reports that Siphamandla has been transferred from Emalahleni General Hospital to Middelburg Hospital.”
The department would also work with the SA Council of Educators on the case so that a message was sent to teachers that they must at all times conduct themselves in a professional manner, Mhaule said.
She added that the department reiterated its position and urged teachers to comply with provisions of the South African Schools Act, which prohibited that pupils receive corporal punishment.