WATCH: How 'jungle justice' works at Paarl Boys' High School

2019-03-17 07:49

A video has emerged of boys practising so-called "jungle justice" at Paarl Boys' High School which has been embroiled in allegations of corporal punishment, a practice outlawed in South Africa. 

As several incidents of violence toward teachers as well as pupils put the spotlight on school safety, the video depicts two separate incidents which support allegations that peers hit or punish each other with no recourse.

There were also claims that younger pupils were made to partake in "initiation" activities which involve drinking large quantities of chilli sauce or hot cordials, and waking up very early to do chores for their seniors.

Disturbing videos

In the video, a boy takes a narrow plank and another boy braces himself on a table, with his buttocks jutting out.

There is laughter in the classroom as the boy with the plank is given advice on how to hit the boy over his shorts.

The plank goes down on the boy's buttocks with a loud smack and a whoop is heard, intermingled with laughter.

The boy who has been hit arches his back while the other boys laugh.

In another clip, a boy is made to hold a pair of scissors with his hand over one of the sharp metal blades while another boy holds the other side and pulls. 

The two exchange words, with the boy who is told to hold the scissors seemingly going along with the request.

"Look how he holds the scissors says somebody in the background."

A teacher is not visible or audible in the videos taken in a classroom.

The boy seemingly dominating the situation takes the scissors away and tells the other boy "Don't touch me bra", as the two seem to tussle over the scissors. 

The boy who initially had the scissors reaches forward as though he wants to smack the other boy, but is blocked by a slap on the arm.

The other boy seems to taunt him and then somebody else eventually chimes in: "Okay, leave him alone."


"Jungle justice" is one of the methods of harm that some parents and past pupils have alleged occur at the boys' school in the Cape wine belt.

Other methods of physical "punishment" allegedly include a "five-star" smack on the back which leaves a hand print or smacks on the head.

The school has denied the allegations and has asked that anybody who has been affected officially report it for investigation. It has also stated that any further inquiries be directed to the education department.

READ: Exclusive: Corporal punishment claims rock Paarl Boys' high school

The Western Cape Department of Education has condemned corporal punishment, as it also continues its anti-bullying roadshow.

It has asked the SA Human Rights Commission to look into the allegations made by numerous parents and past pupils of Paarl Boys' High School. 


Numerous sources who contacted News24 said it was the "norm", even after corporal punishment was abolished in 1996. Many also said they loved the school, just not the punishments, and some questioned how else unruly children could be disciplined effectively.

The national education department said all the claims were difficult to investigate because nobody wanted to reveal their identity in an official complaint. 

Spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said: "The problem with this, like Parktown Boys' [High School] where sexual offences occurred for a long time, the parents and the school have a tendency of protecting the image of the school and thus opting to remain silent or co-operate.

"Accusations can be made but if there is no willingness from all stakeholders to deal with the issue head on, it makes life difficult for the authorities."

Many of the claims regarding Paarl Boys' High School were directed at head of discipline and deputy principal Richard Visagie. 

Although the school said only one complaint had been laid against Visagie, it said it did not know the outcome.

The WCED said Visagie had received a final warning and a fine for misconduct last year after a corporal punishment allegation against him was investigated by the department's labour unit.

Child removed

The mother of the child involved called News24 to say that she took her son out of the school eventually.

Another parent said that since News24's report, there had been no corporal punishment that she knew of at Paarl Boys' High School.

ALSO READ: 'It was pure brutality' yet others see nothing wrong - ex-Paarl Boys high pupils on corporal punishment claims

Mhlanga said the standard practice for any discipline problems at school was the following:

- Set limits, clarify roles and responsibility and mutual expectations. If learners do not behave as expected, the teacher has the right to correct the pupil.

- Teachers implement various strategies that help them manage classrooms such as detention, additional homework, physical activity, a threat to call parents.

"All this they do to try bring order in the classrooms," he said.

Read more on:    cape town  |  education  |  crime

Inside News24


Matric Results are coming soon!

Notify me when results become available

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

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.