Principal removed after Gauteng school circumcision debacle

2015-11-05 21:15
The Fleurhof house where the Noordgesig learners were taken for circumcisions. (Mpho Raborife, News24)

The Fleurhof house where the Noordgesig learners were taken for circumcisions. (Mpho Raborife, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - The principal of the Noordgesig Primary School has been removed following a debacle involving 40 boys who were taken to an undisclosed location to be circumcised.

"I have taken the decision to immediately remove the principal from the school. There will be a formal disciplinary hearing for her and her two deputies," Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi told parents and residents gathered at the Noordgesig community centre on Thursday evening.

The crowd responded with cheers and applause.

Non-profit organisation Right to Care, which was involved in taking the pupils to a clinic the parents were not aware of, would also be blacklisted from entering any school premises.

Lesufi said a department report on the incident would be handed over as part of the disciplinary hearings against principal Cindy Tsotsotso and her two deputies.

Before Lesufi spoke about the principal, residents chanted "she must go".

Lesufi said only three boys were actually circumcised.

Assaulted with broomsticks

Parents signed consent forms for the procedure, but the consent letters they received apparently did not specify where the circumcisions would be done.

In previous years, the school had partnered with a non-government organisation aligned with the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto. This year, however, the children were taken to a new venue, the Fleurhof Clinic.

After receiving complaints from parents and community members, Right to Care responded by terminating its contract with the clinic.

Lesufi said his department received two complaints from parents, who alleged Tsotsotso allowed Right to Care to pick up 40 boys on October 16 to be circumcised. The principal apparently did not know where the pupils would be taken.

According to the complainants some children got home as late as 21:00 that night, while the last group returned at 03:30 the next morning. 

The department also heard that some pupils were assaulted with broomsticks. 

Earlier in the week, a parent, Dwain Williams, told News24 that his son Duran ran home to Noordgesig from the Fleurhof house - about 10km - after being beaten.

"They left in the morning, and he came back early around 13:00. His shoes were gone, he was wet, so I asked him where he [came] from and what happened.

"He then explained to me that... they were hit with brooms and so he ran away. There were two that ran away. At first I didn't believe him, until I came to the school to ask questions and... other parents were also here."

The department found that no pupils had required medical attention. 

'Why didn't they come with the kids?'

The three circumcised pupils would receive counselling by an independent psychologist. One of the three had also signed his own consent form.

Earlier on Thursday, the manager of the clinic in Fleurhof denied any wrongdoing.

In an exclusive interview with News24, Cynthia Gama said she was unfairly getting all the blame following the uproar by angry parents.

When asked why the boys were dropped off so late, Gama said the boys had been brought to the house in buses, but in the evening, when the boys were supposed to be taken home, one of the drivers said he had had a puncture.

When told about the allegations by the parents that their children were beaten with brooms, among other things, she said no parent had come to the house to confront her or to ask questions.

"Why didn't they come with the kids? I would have lined my staff up and asked the kids to point out which one hit them."

Read more on:    panyaza lesufi  |  johannesburg  |  education  |  circumcision

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.


10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham

Here are just ten of our favourite plus-sized models:


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Pornhub is giving users free access to premium content these holidays
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
How to open a beer bottle without an opener
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.