Private school faces closure over corporal punishment
Johannesburg - The Mpumalanga education department is set to close down a private school notorious for allegedly administering corporal punishment, unless it provides a good explanation.
The City Press reported that the department launched an investigation into Cefups Academy, located between Mbombela and White River, following the death of 19-year-old Paballo Seane.
She died at Nelspruit Medi-Clinic’s intensive care unit on 7 August after she was allegedly sjambokked at the school.
Provincial education spokesperson Jasper Zwane said the department’s investigation into Cefups confirmed that corporal punishment was administered at the school.
Zwane said Cefups owner Simon Mkhatshwa was given 30 days to explain why the department should not withdraw his school’s registration in light of the findings.
“We’re convinced that corporal punishment does happen at the school and now we want reasons why we should not close down the school,” he said.
Zwane said the department had directed circuit manager Musa Linkwati to closely monitor the activities at Cefups and report monthly to the head of department, Mohlabane Mahlasedi.
Since Cefups started operating in 1992, many parents have complained about the severe beating of their children, but the department has been saying it could not enforce compliance with the South African Schools Act in private institutions.
The provincial department only promulgated regulations on private schools in March 2013. The regulations force the schools to adhere to the schools act.
Mpumalanga police spokesperson Selvy Mohlala said police have changed their investigation into Seane’s death from an inquest into murder.
“There are samples that were taken to the laboratory for testing. We’re awaiting the outcome of the forensic investigation. The charge of murder was opened by the state [police],” said Mohlala.
Last year, Cefups’s boarding masters were sentenced by Magistrate Mandla Sambo of the Nelspruit Regional Court for assaulting Musa Nkambule, 18, Tsholofelo Matabane, 19, Hawick Miquen, 21, and Tshepo Ndlovu, 18, in April 2012 while they were at the school to support their cousin Nothando Kenny in a beauty pageant.
The boarding masters – Jaconia Nkosi , 44 and Henry Mphokane, 30 - were sentenced to three years in jail or a fine of R45 000, while Nhlanhla Mazibuko, 44, was fined R30 000 or spend a year in jail.
Last year, three parents told City Press about the assault on their children at the school.
One mother removed her 19-year-old son from Cefups after two boarding masters allegedly severely beat him with a sjambok for going to a shopping mall without permission.
The teenager saw a doctor at Nelspruit Medi-Clinic who signed a J88 form enabling the teen to lay charges at the Nelspruit police station.
The second mother said her 19-year-old son was beaten up and expelled because she left him food with the school’s security guards.
With no money, the teenager had to hitch-hike for 300km from Mbombela to his home in Secunda.
The third parent said her son was sjambokked and expelled because a female school mate had photographs of boys and girls in her camera.
She said Mkhatshwa demanded a R20 000 fine, which she refused to pay, and her son lost his place in the school.
Mkhatshwa could not be reached for comment today.