Cefups Academy closed for using corporal punishment

2014-10-10 16:46

Mpumalanga’s Cefups Academy has been shut down following an investigation that found that the upmarket school’s staff members have been using corporal punishment, which has been outlawed.

The provincial education department launched an investigation into the beatings of pupils following the death of Paballo Seanne (19), the niece of deputy arts and culture minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi, on August 7 after she was allegedly assaulted for failing a test.

The department’s investigation team found that corporal punishment was being used at the private school outside Mbombela, but Seanne’s death has not been linked to an assault pending the outcome of postmortem results.

In a short statement today, the department said: “The Mpumalanga department of education has taken a decision to withdraw the registration of Cefups Academy with effect from January 1 2015. A letter to this effect has been submitted to the owner of Cefups Academy on Thursday, October 9.”

Department spokesperson Jasper Zwane said Cefups owner Simon Mkhatshwa would be given a chance to appeal the decision.

“From now due processes are going to unfold when the MEC [Reginah Mhaule] informs parents and other stakeholders about this decision,” said Zwane.

He confirmed that Seanne was beaten before she died but the actual cause of her death would be known after the police had finished their investigation.

“We can’t say she died as a result of the beating. Unlike a court of law, we have taken our decision based on a balance of probabilities,” explained Zwane.

A Cefups’ pupils and parents Facebook page has peddled claims that Seanne drank an antiseptic agent and did not go to school on the day of her death but got sick and was taken by an ambulance to hospital, where she died.

Mkhatshwa’s phone rang unanswered this afternoon and he did not respond to a text message requesting his comment.

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Selvy Mohlala said that the police were still waiting for postmortem results on the cause of Seanne’s death.

The police opened an inquest into the matter.

Parents have reported many cases to the department since the school opened doors in 1992, but only two were investigated. The other probe happened in 2009, but the department has refused to provide details.

The department has been telling parents to report assaults to the police.

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