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School CP - October 2000

Corpun file 6187

East Cape News, Grahamstown, 6 October 2000

COSAS Will Bleed Before Allowing Corporal Punishment To Be Reinstated

By Anele Nene Bisho

The Congress of South African Students (Cosas) is adamant that corporal punishment should not be allowed at schools despite continued campaigns by Christian activist groups.

All stakeholders campaigning for the reinstatement of corporal punishment should know that Cosas would fight the implementation of corporal punishment at our schools until we "bleed," said Cosas provincial organiser Nkululeko Mengu yesterday.

Mengu lashed out at the Christian organisations and said: "they are dreaming whilst not asleep." He said the fact that christian organisations wanted corporal punishment back was a pity, "these organisations did not seem to understand our history and the constitution, especially the Bill of Rights."

During an exclusive interview with ECN, Mengu said Cosas had informed the Education Department that corporal punishment was being secretly practiced at Sinethemba High School, Ngcelwane High School and Eric Mntongwa High School, all in Mdantsane.

He said a number of students had left school because of corporal punishment, claiming it was destabilising and inflicted hatred between teachers and students.

Education Department Minister Kader Asmal's determination to end persistent corporal punishment at schools recently reached a climax on Thursday when he launched a document aimed at helping teachers to explore other alternative disciplinary measures.

Christians for Truth vice-chairperson Gerhard Le Roux said he did not agree to reports that corporal punishment was unconstitutional, "there is a right and wrong way of practicing corporal punishment".

Speaking from Cape Town, Le Roux hesitantly said his organisation was against corporal punishment if children were abused, "If corporal punishment is done properly it is all right".

Pressed by ECN to furnish the proper way of practicing corporal punishment Le Roux said: "I will not respond to that."

Copyright © 2000 East Cape News.

Corpun file 6437

Mail & Guardian, Johannesburg, 20 October 2000

Corporal Punishment for Failing to Cough Up

By Evidence wa ka Ngobeni in Johannesburg

A principal at a North West school has admitted to beating students for failing to contribute towards the salary of another teacher at the school.

LS Thwane, headmaster at Montshioa Memorial Middle School near Mmabatho, made his startling admission to the Mail & Guardian this week after students and teachers broke their silence about his activities.

Students said their ordeal started last year when Thwane invited a voluntary teacher to teach English. The teacher, who is alleged to be related to the principal, was called to help with grade six and seven English classes.

Teachers said this week that Thwane had asked parents to donate money to compensate the English teacher. However, students and teachers claim that Thwane has been beating those students who have failed to raise any money.

"He is so arrogant and he does not want to listen. He comes into a class, he does not talk to the teacher and threatens students that if they do not pay the money they will get another beating," said a teacher, who did not want to be named.

Corporal punishment in schools was outlawed more than four years ago, but there are claims that many teachers still resort to it.

A Constitutional Court challenge from Christian Education South Africa several weeks ago seeking the reinstatement of corporal punishment was dismissed.

Thwane admitted that he often asks student to donate between R5 and R20 a month to pay the volunteer teacher, but he denied the teacher is his nephew.

"Yes, we do want to pay this teacher as a token of our appreciation, but that he is related to me is totally rubbish," he said.

As for the alleged beatings: "I sometimes lose it. But I seldom use corporal punishment," he said.

Thwane added that other teachers at the school beat students and he has warned them that it is a criminal offence.

The school has more than 20 teachers and caters for about 700 students. Kgomotso Letsebele is one of the students who says she has been a victim of Thwane's beatings.

A grade nine student, she said the principal beat her and her friends for four days in succession for failing to pay the money.

"My parents are not staying here and I kept telling the principal that I don't have the money, but he beat me every day I came to school.

"This whole thing makes me not to want to come to school. I know that if I don't come up with the money the principal will beat me," said Letsebele.

Although the situation has apparently angered teachers as well as the student representative council, council president Mongesi Ndikandika said everyone in the school is afraid to confront Thwane.

"He is a bully and his word is final. He beats student in front of teachers and they can't do anything," said Ndikandika.

Ndikandika said his organisation has reported the matter to the Congress of South African Students, which has undertaken to report it to the Department of Education.

Copyright © 2000 Mail and Guardian.

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