NO ACTION has yet been taken against the Eastern Cape teacher caught on video dishing out corporal punishment to schoolgirls in what looked like a staffroom.
In the video, which emerged on social media site YouTube on Monday night, 13 pupils from Holomisa Senior Secondary School in Mqanduli are beaten on their hands by a female teacher using a pink pipe.
It was reported in the Daily Dispatch yesterday that a number of fellow teachers could be heard in the background jeering and urging her on.
Another teacher reads each pupil’s name from a register while they receive six lashes on their hands.
“I want that class to be clean,” the teacher, identified as a Ms Mphaphela, says in the video. “It must look like the others [classes]. I’m giving you five minutes.”
Some of the pupils are seen crying and begging not to be hit.
When contacted for comment, education department spokesman Malibongwe Mtima said the department would send a delegation to the school and to the district to investigate the matter.
“We will also be checking to see what steps have been taken by the district office thus far,” he said.
Efforts by the Daily Dispatch to get comment from the school principal yesterday were unsuccessful.
First the Dispatch was told the principal was in a meeting but after that the school’s phone appeared to be off the hook.
Education portfolio committee chairman Phumzile Mnguni condemned the incident, describing the teacher’s actions as barbaric and unconstitutional.
“I’m very shocked and disappointed by the behaviour displayed by this teacher,” he said.
“The portfolio committee will definitely be conducting our own investigation to ensure this type of thing does not happen in any other school.”
Mnguni added school pupils needed to be treated with care and respect in the classroom and not to be exposed to humiliation and abuse. “Children are the future of this country,” he said.
This was echoed by the DA education spokesman Edmund van Vuuren, who said incidents of corporal punishment were very high in the province.
He called on the education department to take urgent action against the teachers.
“Each time the department says the perpetrators will bear the consequences, yet I can count on my one hand how many of those teachers are actually punished.
“Somehow, these teachers always get away with it,” he said.
Van Vuuren said all the teachers present during the beatings should be suspended, along with Mphaphela, while the departmental investigation is under way. —