Schools told: punish now and pay later

2012-06-06 00:00

METING out corporal punishment could cost teachers in KwaZulu-Natal dearly, Education MEC Senzo Mchunu warned yesterday.

“Where there are financial implications, the offenders must be prepared to reimburse the Department,” said Mchunu.

He said this after having lost an appeal against a young man who sued him for R2 million after losing an eye back during a classroom incident in his school days.

Education Department spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi added: “We would have used the R2 million to buy textbooks for schools, but now we have to pay for something that the teacher could have avoided doing.”

The department said it would respect the court’s ruling. “We do not intend challenging it,” he said.

Although corporal punishment is forbidden by law, some teachers still use it.

“We would like to send a stern warning against those among us who still practise corporal punishment,” said Mchunu. “As a department we view it as serious defiance, a serious offence that can lead to termination of employment.”

In 2003 Simphiwe Shange became an indirect and unintended victim of corporal punishment when the deputy principal’s belt buckle struck his eye as he beat another pupil.

Shange sued the Education Department for damages in 2006. The department lost an appeal last week, and it now has to pay up.

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