School gang attack claimed

2011-02-01 00:00

A “STREET” gang allegedly operating at the Sfisesihle Junior Primary School in Mpophomeni near Howick seriously injured a fellow pupil when they beat him up for his 50 cents lunch money last week.

Mxolisi Vilakazi (14) a grade 7 pupil at the the school was admitted to Northdale Hospital on Tuesday after being assaulted by a school gang allegedly calling themselves the 28s.

The same three boys allegedly beat him up last year.

This is the third time that Mxolisi has been beaten up; he was assaulted by a different gang in 2009.

His mother, Khethekile Vilakazi, said her son has suffered head and body injuries from numerous beatings and he is an epileptic.

She said that last week she took her son to hospital after he had received yet another beating from the gang. He again suffered serious body and head injuries.

“From what I have gathered from Mxolisi, he said the gang had asked him for his lunch money and when he said he did not have it they started harassing him.

“He then went to inform the teacher who told them to leave him alone. However, when he went outside the gang followed him and assaulted him.”

Vilakazi said Mxolisi then ran back to the classroom where the gang followed him.

“They continued assaulting him in front of the teacher. They beat him with sticks and kicked him on the head.”

She said her son told her he was being victimised because he had refused to join the gang.

Vilakazi said she had not laid any charges as the school principal had said that the matter would be resolved internally.

“The first time he was beaten up, the pupils were expelled from school. He has since been assaulted twice by the same pupils and nothing has been done by the school.”

Vilakazi said she was contemplating taking the boy out of the school because of its failure to take action against the gang and the fact that he was beaten up in front of the teacher.

Mthokozisi Mthethwa, the chairperson of the school governing body, said he is aware of the incident and that the matter will be investigated. He said there has been speculation about the existence of gangs, but when they investigated they found that it was just something that the children did on the street.

He confirmed that in the previous incident of violence at the school, they had not encouraged the laying of criminal charges but had rather taken the students for counselling at the police station.

“Most of these pupils are very young; some are not even 14 years of age,” he said.

The police could not, however, confirm that any pupils had been taken to the police station for counselling.

Sihle Mlotshwa, a spokesperson for the Education Department, said the department has investigated the incident and was told by the school principal that there had been a fight between two schoolboys, which had nothing to do with any gang activities at the school.

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