JOHANNESBURG, August 4 – The Gauteng MEC of Education Panyaza Lesufi on Friday identified learner discipline as one of the priorities of his department and they were proactive in identifying preventative strategies to eliminate social ills such as drug abuse and gangsterism from the school environment.
This follows a call from the Democratic Alliance’s Gauteng spokesperson on education, Khume Ramulifho, for Lesufi to urgently investigate allegations of food poisoning as a result of drugs at Siyaphambili Secondary School in Orange Farm. The DA claimed that the incident led to the death of a learner but the department said the learner had been hospitalised.
GDE spokesperson Steve Mabona said in a statement: “Our report reveals that learners ate muffins containing drugs at the school. The report indicates that learners bought muffins from one of the learners at the school. We can confirm that one of the learners fainted in class and was taken to the office for assessment. According to the principal the school immediately informed parents on the matter and the learner was subsequently taken home, while at home the sickness persisted and she was taken to Sebokeng Hospital for medical assistance. The learner is currently in hospital receiving treatment.”
“The involved learner has since been suspended. It must also be noted that the alleged perpetrator is a Grade 12 learner at the school and he will continue to receive access to education. The school has called the parents of the alleged perpetrator to explain the situation of the learner. We are also aware that the matter has been reported to the police. Counselling will be offered to victims.”
Mabona said that when schools became suspicious of any drug-related activities or of learners carrying weapons on the premises, the South African Police Services (SAPS) were called in to conduct random searches and drug raids.
“If the allegations are true and learners are found in possession of drugs or any illegal substance, they will be taken through a disciplinary process by the school. Psychosocial support is organised for the involved learners to provide them with life skills to prevent and lure them away from committing similar offences again.”