SAHRC CONDEMNS CORPORAL PUNISHMENT
By: Nomvula Ndlovu
The SA Human Rights Commission (HRC) said up to two million children are victims of corporal punishment in schools every year.
A study by the commission also revealed that despite being outlawed, up to 58% of teachers still support the practice.
The HRC is hosting the second day of a summit with education stakeholders in Johannesburg on Friday to try and find solutions to the problem.
HRC representative, Isaac Mangena said that they are also concerned about the underreporting of such cases.
“The issue of corporal punishment is of very serious concern to the Human Rights Commission and should be of a concern to every person in the country because what the teachers are doing by enforcing corporal punishment is illegal and a criminal offence. But we don’t see most of these teachers behind bars or being taken to trial for what they are doing,” he said.
On the 24th of March 2014, a South Coast teacher who allegedly used a plastic pipe to hit five pupils for arriving late at school was suspended. Later that month, a teacher was accused of assaulting pupils at Olwambeni Primary School, near KwaNdengezi outside Pinetown.
A case was opened against him after he allegedly made five pupils shuffle on their knees on a tarred road as punishment for making a noise in class.
KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education representative, Muzi Mahlambi said the department does not tolerate corporal punishment.
“We are taking this matter very seriously. Because of the shortage of educators, it pains us when we have to suspend an educator. When we have to dismiss an educator due to an issue that an educator, as a learned person, should understand that it is crime to do so,” Mahlambi said in a press statement.