Battery case at dead end

2018-07-18 06:01

Controversy reigns over the withdrawal of a child battery case against a teacher at the Nzame Primary School in Bloemfontein.

The matter was withdrawn despite the five-year-old child apparently undergoing emergency surgery in April to repair his severely injured ear.

The guardian of the child said the surgery on her grandson was done after two medical doctors had examined him, following the alleged battery by a female teacher.

She said she became aware of the incident after her grandson had begun to experience trouble with his ear in February and March, pointing out it was due to the alleged assault.

“I arrived home to find the child’s ear bleeding and got the news that he had been assaulted,” she said.

She opened a case at the Kagisanong Police Station in Rocklands in March.

To her dismay, the matter was withdrawn and she claims to not even have been informed about the course of the investigation.

Sgt Ikobeng Hlubi, police spokesperson, said a case of common assault had been opened for investigation after the child’s guardian had lodged a complaint at the Kagisanong Police Station.

The case was opened in March, before surgery to the child’s severely injured ear.

Hlubi said according to the docket, the complainant implicated a female teacher who had allegedly assaulted the child.

“The case was withdrawn and the alleged suspect could not be arrested, nor charged,” said Hlubi.

“There was not enough evidence against her on the reported assault. The complainant refused to cooperate with the police, and the case was taken to the senior prosecutor for a decision and was withdrawn by the court in June.”

Hlubi said the investigative officer, whose name could not be revealed, has refuted claims over the failure to contact the complainant regarding investigation into the case.

“According to the investigative officer, he has been in contact with the complainant, but she refused to cooperate.”

The complainant in turn has refuted claims by the investigator that he had been in contact with her.

She said the last communication with the investigator was in March, when the officer came to hand over a J88 form, which had to be filled in by a doctor to ascertain the injury.

“The officer then contacted me in June, requesting the form he had given me in March. I explained I had misplaced it because of my frustration due to the severity of the child’s injury. Since then the officer has never contacted me,” the complainant said.

The withdrawal of the case against the teacher has dealt the guardian a double blow, as apparently no action was taken after reporting the matter to the circuit manager at the Department of Education in Bloemfontein.

She said she had also reported the matter to senior authority at the school. The child was registered for Gr. R at the school, but has since been moved to another school. The guardian said following the alleged assault, she was forced to do this.

Howard Ndaba, spokes­person of the department, said an investigation would be launched into the alleged assault of the child.

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