Horror video shocks parents

Pretoria - A video which shows children at a child care centre in Pretoria North allegedly being abused has led to a mass exodus from the school.

Of the 34 children who used to attend the Babbelbekkies child care centre, only 11 showed up on Tuesday after the video was shown to parents at a meeting on Monday night.

Beeld has a copy of the video.

One clip shows a 3-year-old boy being hit on his ankles four times.

This boy's mother has submitted a complaint of assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm and child abuse at the Pretoria North police station.

"I'm so upset. Children often get bruises so you don't always pay attention. I thought he was hurt on the playground jungle gym. I can't imagine my child being hit like that," she said.

"I don't know what my child had to endure. I trusted them to look after him."

Warrants investigation

Another clip shows a girl lying tied to a mattress with a rope.

Beeld showed the video to an expert who said, based on the video, it is difficult to determine whether this behaviour is illegal, but it "definitely warrants an investigation".

The centre's owner, Jacques Kruger, said the video (recorded in October 2009) only came to his attention on Monday.

"I wasn't aware that something like this was going on. It has also never happened in my presence," said Kruger.

Kruger started an internal investigation into the allegations and is also having the video independently investigated.

He did not want to comment on the video before the investigation is finalised.

Hit at school

In a letter given to parents, Kruger says "children who misbehave will no longer be disciplined and parents will be required to fetch their children from the school. Teachers will not hit, push, pinch or pull a child's hair".

Another mother said her 6-year-old daughter has been coming home with red marks on her legs for the past two months. The girl later told her mother she was hit at school.

"The children who come from this school do well academically and in sports," said this mother.

"These are children with good values. I just didn't realise this is how those values are ingrained."

When teachers register their children at the school, they sign a document which states "I give permission for my child/ren to be disciplined within limits".

"Within limits means a whack on the bum. It's not a blow with a wooden spoon on the head or across the body," said the mother.

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