The Democratic Alliance is deeply perturbed and angry at the dehumanised treatment our learners are still being subjected to in our schools.

Corporal punishment was abolished 14 years ago, but it is obvious that a number of teachers lack the necessary training and capacity to deal effectively with disciplinary issues.

I was informed on Tuesday 19 April 2011, by parliamentary colleagues of mine of the unfortunate and uncalled for beating of a learner at St Joseph’s Junior Secondary School in Mthatha. This incident happened on Wednesday 13 April 2011, and I drove to Mthatha from Port Elizabeth on Wednesday 20 April 2011, to ascertain the facts for myself.

Andisiwe Nabiso, a 14 year old grade 8 pupil, at St Joseph’s Junior Secondary School, in Norwood, Mthatha, was indiscriminately beaten with a pipe by a teacher. Upon my visit to the school, I was told by some learners that corporal punishment is still very much a norm at this specific school.

Andisiwe is currently in the intensive care unit of the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital in Mthatha. He has been diagnosed with paralysis and his condition, as described by his physicians, is deteriorating by the day.

The sight of a helpless boy laying in his hospital bed whose life has been destroyed through barbaric behaviour, as well as a weeping mother clutching his hand, brought tears to my eyes.

I have personally alerted the Superintendent General of the Department of Education in the Eastern Cape, Advocate Modidima Mannya regarding this unlawful beating. The school principal has failed in his responsibilities as the manager of the school to record this incident in the occurrence book. He also did not report this matter to the department, nor did he inform the parent. The principal and the teacher concerned have, according to allegations, colluded to keep this barbaric behaviour under wraps.

I commend the Superintendent General for his swift and decisive action in suspending both the principal and the teacher concerned.

Doctors at the hospital are still conducting tests in order to give a concrete diagnosis as to what caused the paralysis.

The Democratic Alliance is of the opinion that it is too co-incidental that this child complained about lameness in his arm a day after having been beaten by this teacher.

The Democratic Alliance demands that these two teachers, if found guilty, be axed. There is no reason for them to play the ignorance card pertaining to corporal punishment. As a community we should never allow teachers acting in an inhumane manner to set foot in our schools again.

The Democratic Alliance supports an advocacy programme to inform communities as to their and their children’s rights about how to deal with unbecoming behaviour in our schools.

Just imagine the unnecessary pain this family had been subjected to – these beatings in schools should be nipped in the bud.

Axe these child abusers.