News | South Africa | Courts
The Centre for Child Law (CCL) is taking the South African Council of Educators (Sace) to court in a bid to secure harsher sanctions for two primary school teachers who pleaded guilty to using corporal punishment in the classroom.
At the heart of the case are incidents that took place at two different schools, one in Gauteng and the other in Limpopo.
In the first, a boy, seven, had to be hospitalised after he was hit on the head with a PVC pipe by his teacher in 2015; in the second, a girl, 10, was left bleeding from her ears and with “ongoing complications” after she was slapped and
beaten in 2019.
The teachers involved were both reported to Sace in 2019 after lawyers from non-profit Section27 became involved following a series of unsuccessful attempts by the children’s parents to engage the schools.
The teachers pleaded guilty to misconduct and receiving identical sanctions.
In addition to fines of an effective R10,000 each, they were removed from the roll of educators, suspended for 10 years, allowing them to continue working for as long as they were not found guilty of misconduct again.
The CCL and the children’s parents want these “shockingly lenient” sanctions reviewed, set aside and remitted back to Sace for reconsideration.
“In both cases, the learners experienced severe assaults, leaving both children deeply traumatised and in need of medical care,” said the centre’s director Ronaldah Ozah.
“Despite the severity of the two incidents, both educators received what appear, on their face, to be shockingly lenient sentences.”
Ozah zeroed in on the fact that the teachers had been allowed to remain in the classroom.
“They were also not required to undertake any form of rehabilitation to address their violent behaviour, such as anger management or training on effective, non-violent discipline,” she said.
She emphasised that despite being outlawed more than 24 years ago, corporal punishment was still rife in SA schools.
Sace spokesperson Themba Ndhlovu said the council was opposing the application but since the matter was sub judice would only comment after the court proceedings.
For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.