On Wednesday, 22 August 2012, eNews Channel Africa showed footage of a male teacher violently attacking a Grade 9 learner at Hoerskool Patriot in Mpumalanga. Equal Education (EE) condemns the attack and calls for the immediate dismissal of the teacher.
Corporal punishment at schools is unconstitutional and illegal in South Africa, and constitutes a criminal offence. Section 10 of the South African Schools Act 84 of 1996 stipulates that “(a) No person may administer corporal punishment at a school to a learner; and (b) Any person who contravenes this is guilty of an offence, and liable on conviction to a sentence which could be imposed for assault.”
In 2000, the Constitutional Court, in Christian Education South Africa v Minister of Education (2000), upheld Section 10 of the School Act. The Court held that corporal punishment at schools violates the fundamental right to human dignity, as well as the right to freedom and security of the person. This includes:
- the right to be free from all forms of violence from either public or private sources
- the right not to be treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way; and
- the right to bodily and psychological integrity, which includes the right to security in and control of their body.
In Christian Education South Africa v Minister of Education, the Constitutional Court emphasised that the State is “under a constitutional duty to take steps to help diminish the amount of public and private violence in society generally and to protect all people and especially children from maltreatment, abuse or degradation.”
EE’s Chairperson, Yoliswa Dwane, this morning condemned the violence: “It is imperative that schools are places of safety for learners. The Department of Basic Education must conduct an urgent and thorough investigation. A criminal charge of assault must be laid against this teacher in addition to his dismissal.”
For more information please contact
Yoliswa Dwane (EE Chairperson) on 072 342 7747
Kate Wilkinson (Media Office) on 082 326 5353