Free State mom claims R400 000 after teacher hits boy with cane - report

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A Vredefort pupil was left with a scar after a teacher hit him with a cane.
A Vredefort pupil was left with a scar after a teacher hit him with a cane.
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  • A Free State mother is claiming R400 000 from the province's MEC for education after a teacher hit her son on the back with a cane.
  • The boy was reportedly punished for throwing a paper ball at another pupil, who laughed and threw it back.
  • The boy was 12 years old at the time and the blow allegedly left a scar.


A Free State mother is claiming R400 000 from the province's MEC for education after a teacher reportedly hit her son on the back with a cane.

According to Netwerk24, Judge Abe Mathebula made a draft order between the parties in the High Court in Bloemfontein this week. Accordingly, the MEC must accept full responsibility for the damage suffered by the boy and must also pay the mother's legal costs.

According to the claim, the teacher, Petrus Khotlele, reportedly hit the then Grade 4 pupil in class at Laerskool Chris van Niekerk in Vredefort. The boy was 12 years old at the time and the blow apparently left a scar. A charge of assault was lodged with the police the same day, Netwerk24 reports.

At the time, Khotlele paid an admission of guilt fine of R500. The mother then reportedly sued the education MEC for damages, pain and suffering, loss of income and medical expenses.

The MEC claimed Khotlele was appointed by the school governing body and that the education department could therefore not be held responsible for his actions.

The boy was reportedly punished for throwing a paper ball at another pupil, who laughed and threw it back.

Caregiver sentenced

In a separate case, a 40-year-old caregiver who assaulted children at a crèche in Carletonville, south of Johannesburg, was sentenced to five years' imprisonment in the Oberholzer Magistrate's Court on Tuesday, News24 reported earlier.

This came after the former employee of Ninnies Neuron's Nursery School was convicted of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH) and two counts of common assault of three children in July.

"Between 23 April and 31 May 2018, [she] assaulted three minor children aged between 11 months and four years. At the time of the incident, [she] was employed at Ninnies Neuron's Nursery School as a nursery school teacher and a cleaner.

READ | Violence in SA's schools is worse than you think, and spanking is part of the problem

"The incident was caught in a video footage and [she] was arrested on 27 March 2019 after the circulation of the clip," North Gauteng National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Lumka Mahanjana said in a statement on Tuesday.

High level of physical violence

In 2019, Patrick Burton, executive director at the Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention, told News24 South Africa still had high levels of physical discipline by teachers in schools.

At the School Safety Summit held in May 2019, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said corporal punishment had the risk of stirring up more violence.

"We have to come with a mechanism of coming up with alternative punishment for learners. We can't have learners and teachers fighting and we can't encourage violence on the school premises," Lesufi said.

- Compiled by Riaan Grobler

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