NEWS & ANALYSIS

SACE must account for fatal school assault – DA

Party says council's lack of response is of great concern

SACE must account for fatal school assault

22 March 2017

The DA will submit parliamentary questions to the Department of Basic Education regarding the involvement of the South African Council of Educators (SACE) in the investigation into the fatal assault of the fourteen-year-old Siphamandla Choma who tragically passed away yesterday.

According to media reports, Choma, a learner at Manyano Primary School in Mpumalanga, was left paralysed after allegedly being assaulted by his principal in November last year and sadly died yesterday as a result of his injuries.

Following the reports, the principal was suspended and the Mpumalanga Department of Basic Education launched an investigation into the incident.

Although the DA welcomes the Department’s investigation into the matter, SACE’s lack of response is of great concern.

The DA seeks clarity on whether this incident of assault was investigated by SACE and how long they were aware of the incident, as it is in their mandate to probe violent conduct towards school children.

SACE is mandated to ensure that our children are kept safe from educators who wish to harm them and that those teachers and principals who are accused of transgressions are held to account.

Corporal punishment has been banned from South African schools since 1997. However, too many educators continue to use physical forms of discipline against school children.

It seems as though the allegations of corruption at SACE have now completely disrupted their ability to do their jobs, which is highly problematic for the safety of school children.

The DA will, therefore, submit parliamentary questions in order to gain further information on how SACE handled the matter.

Every South African child has the right to a safe academic environment, and the DA will ensure that any teacher who is guilty of violence against children are held to account.

Issued by Sonja Boshoff, DA Member of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, 22 March 2017