Zisanda Nkonkobe and Sikho Ntshobane
A VIDEO that has gone viral on a social media site allegedly shows an Eastern Cape teacher dishing out corporal punishment to a group of schoolgirls in what appears to be the school's staffroom.
The video, titled Busting Abusive Teachers in South Africa, was loaded onto YouTube on Monday night.
In it, 13 pupils are beaten on their hands with a plastic pipe by a woman teacher, as other teachers jeer and urge her on.
The teacher is apparently from Holomisa Senior Secondary School in Mqanduli, and the pupils in Grade 11. "I want that class to be clean," the teacher is heard saying. "It must look like the others [classes]. I'm giving you five minutes."
The pupils each receive six lashes across their hands, and some cry and beg not to be hit.
One of the other teachers says: "This is what you get when you don't listen." Another teacher reads pupils' names from a register.
"Let me sit and eat my fatcakes," the teacher who allegedly beats the pupils says at the end of the video to a pupil standing in a corner. That pupil weeps, with a hand over her face, displaying a reluctance to receive her lashings.
The school's principal refused to comment on the matter yesterday, saying she was invigilating at matric exams and would only be able to comment at the end of next month.
She said she would investigate the claims and track down whoever recorded the video.
Education Department spokesman Malibongwe Mtima urged the pupils to report the beatings to the department and the police, as they amounted to assault.
The Human Rights Commission is to investigate the matter. HRC spokesman Isaac Mangena said they were in the process of visiting the school and would speak to the pupils. "We need to speak to the kids who were [allegedly] beaten, but also to the principal and the school governing body to find out what the school's stance on discipline is, because corporal punishment was outlawed a long time ago."