JOHANNESBURG, 12 September – The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Tuesday said it was “deeply disturbed” by the emergence of two cell phone videos – one showing the alleged gang rape of a school girl by a KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) school principal and two teachers.
The other video clip shows a male teacher viciously assaulting two young female learners.
“Both incidents are believed to have taken place in the Esikhawini area near Richards Bay,” said member of the provincial legislature, Dr. Rishigen Viranna, who is the DA spokesperson on education in KZN.
Viranna said the “horrific nature” of both incidents makes them difficult to even view and the DA condemns both acts in the strongest possible terms.
“We expect swift and stern action to be taken both criminally by the SAPS [South African Police Service] and internally by the Department of Education in this province. We also expect the harshest consequences. Certainly, they must never be allowed to teach young people again,” said the MPL.
“The almost weekly appearance of criminal and violent acts at schools in our province is deeply concerning and points to an overall breakdown in the moral fibre of our society.”
Viranna said while KZN Education MEC Mthandeni Dlungwane refers to corporal punishment as “illegal”, his words “ring hollow for the learners who have been on the receiving end of such barbaric acts … not to mention the hundreds of young people who have witnessed such acts”.
He said the DA has consistently called for KZN’s Department of Education to present a proper strategy on how it plans to stop this scourge our schools.
“This issue demands appropriate discipline measures which must not include either physical violence or corporal punishment. It also requires proper training in school discipline and consequences for those who ignore this move,” said Viranna.
“Investigations must also look into the action or lack thereof by school principals. Physical violence in schools does not occur without their knowledge and stern measures must be taken against those who attempt to hide corporal punishment and any form of violence against our learners.”
Viranna said the DA was calling for a holistic approach to this problem which we believe must incorporate the KZN Department of Social Development. A proactive rather than a reactive approach is key if this strategy is to have any chance of success.
“It is critical that the ANC-led government in KZN now moves beyond mere words – our learners need action. The DA demands this in the interests of their safety. These are young people who come to school to learn and better themselves, not to be brutalised by the very same people who are supposed to be their role models,” said Viranna.