A pregnant schoolgirl is in hospital after she fell while being chased by the deputy chair of the school governing body, who was allegedly wielding a sjambok.
The Gauteng education department will conduct an investigation into the incident.
The 16-year-old grade 9 pupil from Sijabulile Secondary School in Katlehong, east of Johannesburg, was admitted to the Thelle Mogoerane hospital in Vosloorus on Thursday.
Her aunt, Sibongile Tshabalala, said yesterday the teen and a group of other pupils were sitting in a park close to the school when the deputy chair, Sphiwe Hlatshwayo, confronted them with a sjambok and ordered them to leave.
Tshabalala said a friend of her niece who was among the children involved told her they were relaxing in the park around midday after leaving school when Hlatshwayo arrived with a sjambok, shouting: “Go home, go home, I don’t want anyone here in the park.”
“Both her and her friend and the others panicked and started running. While she was running, she tripped and fell. Blood came out of one of her ears after she fell,” Tshabalala said.
“She is very confused and dazed. She can’t recollect what happened. All she can remember is the bleeding from one ear.”
Tshabalala said she was “very, very disappointed and heartbroken” at what had happened.
“Her mother passed away when she was a year old and I have been taking care of her ever since. I regard her as my own daughter.”
An entry in the school’s incident book, which the Sunday Times has seen, records that the teen was injured. The word “sjambok” is mentioned.
But Hlatshwayo has denied using a sjambok or beating any of the pupils when he chased them. He said he was carrying a branch from a tree.
He said the pupils were in the street outside the school and he chased them after breaking up a fight between two children.
“I was just chasing them away because I wanted them to go home,” Hlatshwayo said.
“One of the children tripped and fell because her friend was holding her hand.”
He said that his intention was not to hurt anyone, adding: “I didn’t hurt anyone; she fell.”
He said he drove the teen to a nearby clinic after the incident.
“I reported the matter to the acting principal and the governing body. That’s why I’m not scared.”
The acting principal of the school, Tsiliso Mothijoa, said he visited the hospital yesterday and was told by doctors that the girl’s condition was stable.
“I will write a report to my employer and indicate that there was this situation at the school,” he said.
Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said he was saddened to learn about the incident.
“This learner and all those affected will receive the necessary support,” he said. An investigation would be launched and “we will take necessary action accordingly”.
– Sunday times