The Gauteng department of education has placed a primary school teacher on precautionary suspension after she was filmed beating a young boy.
The video emerged on social media. In it the Grade R pupil can be heard crying and whimpering in the five-second clip while the woman slaps him on the head.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Gauteng education spokesperson Steve Mabona confirmed the department was aware of the assault incident on Thursday last week.
“The perpetrator in the video is a Grade R practitioner at Nchuncheko Primary School,” Mabona said
Mabona said the teacher was facing a disciplinary hearing scheduled over the incident, adding that counselling would be offered to the learner.
“It must be noted that the Grade R practitioner has been removed from the school on precaution and reporting to the district office pending a disciplinary hearing on Monday.
“Our psycho-social unit has been dispatched to the school to offer counselling to the affected learner.”
He further said the department strongly condemned corporal punishment.
“As the Gauteng department of education we remain unequivocal in our condemnation of any form of assault of learners in schools as corporal punishment is outlawed by the Constitution of the country.
“We have never hesitated to act when such matters are reported and will continue to prioritise safety at our schools at all times.
“We believe that educators should at all times lead by example to ensure that learners mirror their conduct in creating a safe schooling environment conducive for effective teaching and learning.”
In 2019, the Constitutional Court also ruled that corporal punishment was illegal in homes.
Ruling on whether the common law defence of reasonable and moderate parental chastisement of children was consistent with the Constitution, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng upheld a 2017 high court ruling which made it illegal for parents to spank their children at home, dismissing an appeal.
The landmark ruling was appealed by civil rights group Freedom of Religion South Africa which believed the judgment would make criminals of well-meaning parents.
The ruling, according to the organisation, would have parents prosecuted for assault if convicted. Parents could have a criminal record for abuse, or the children removed from the family home if the court found them guilty.