Cape Town pupil loses use of hand after caning

2016-04-15 14:00
Siphokazi Tyalidikazi cannot use her right hand following an incident of corporal punishment. (Ashleigh Furlong, GroundUp)

Siphokazi Tyalidikazi cannot use her right hand following an incident of corporal punishment. (Ashleigh Furlong, GroundUp)

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Cape Town - Siphokazi Tyalidikazi was 13 when she was caned with a hosepipe, allegedly by her Grade 5 English teacher, for not completing her classwork, resulting in her losing the use of her right hand, GroundUp reported on Friday.

Despite the Western Cape Education Department finding the teacher guilty, she continued to teach Siphokazi for the rest of the academic year because her mother never asked for her to be moved.

Last Friday, Siphokazi and her mother Nobantu waited outside the Blue Downs Magistrate’s Court where the case of assault against her teacher, Linda Fadane of Nal’ikamva School in Mfuleni, was due to be heard.

The case was postponed to May 30.

According to Nobantu Tyladikazi, a doctor had told them the caning had affected a nerve in her daughter's right hand. If Siphokazi continued being unable to use her hand, she would need an operation.

Siphokazi has had to learn to write with her left hand, which was slower. Her mother had to help her with basic tasks, such as bathing.

In September last year, Siphokazi was admitted to Melomed Hospital in Gatesville, which depleted their medical aid funds.

The family claimed the school’s governing body had sided with Fadane and was encouraging people to support her during her court appearances.

Nobantu said the school had called her daughter a "bad influence" and that Fadane had victimised her after the beating, while she was still in her class last year.

"We want justice to be served," said Nobantu. They hoped she would be found guilty and that they would get compensation.

Sonke Gender Justice spokesperson Patrick Godana said corporal punishment was nothing new in the country’s schools and that the organisation wanted to help schools understand the law around corporal punishment.

"We know what we see in schools is a reflection of what is happening in the community. This is a country with high levels of violence," Godana said.

"They [teachers] will justify this nonsense by saying, 'you beat with love'. What is beating with love? Any form of inflicting pain to a child is a violation," he said.

The Western Cape Department of Education said it had charged Fadane with assault, found her guilty, and sanctioned her.

Spokesperson Jessica Shelver said they could not comment on the criminal case.

When asked why Fadane had still taught Siphokazi after the incident, Shelver said her mother never asked for her to be taken out of her class.

"The department views allegations of corporal punishment in a serious light. Corporal punishment is illegal in terms of the South African Schools Act. Our district offices provide training and advice to schools on discipline, as required," she said.

Attempts to get comment from the principal of Nal’ikamva School, or Fadane, were unsuccessful.

Read more on:    cape town  |  child abuse  |  education

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