Sunday World (South Africa)

Mpumalanga education sued for R40m after rapes

In three incidents boys were violated by other pupils

- By Masoka Dube

Parents of three boys who were raped at different schools are up in arms and suing the Mpumalanga education department for more than R40-million for failing to protect their children.

Lawyers representi­ng the three families, who cannot be named, said letters of demand were sent to the department of education.

“We can confirm that we had a successful meeting with the lawyers of the department. At this moment we cannot disclose the contents of the meeting,” said Tony Mathe of Marweshe Attorneys.

“But we can confirm the commitment­s made are for the benefit of the young children concerned, our engagement in finding resolution­s and settling the matters out of court is a possibilit­y, and all we will do will be in the best interest of the minor children concerned,” Mathe.

According to the lawyers’ court papers, which we have seen, one rape incident took place on February 15, when a six-year-old Grade 1 learner at Sizofunda Primary School in Delmas, Mpumalanga, was waiting for his transport and two Grade 7 learners, a boy, and a girl, kidnapped him and took him to a “quieter side” of the school.

The girl apparently accosted him, the boy held his hand to his mouth so that he could not scream. They forcefully undressed him, and the boy penetrated him. It is also alleged that the girl repeatedly inserted her finger inside the boy’s anus.

“Teachers, learners and parents searched for the boy around the school. That is when the alleged perpetrato­rs heard pupils shouting out the boy’s name, and they stopped and ran away,” read the papers.

“The boy ran to his father’s car and started crying. Later, the child related his painful experience to his parents and the teachers.”

The child was taken to Bernice Samuel Hospital, where the rape was confirmed, and he is receiving counsellin­g. When the school investigat­ed the matter, the victim managed to identify his alleged assailants. The matter was reported to the Sundra police station and an investigat­ion is underway.

According to the letter of demand, the parents are suing the department for R15-million for failing to protect the child.

In the second incident at the Platorand Special School in Belfast, Mpumalanga, a nine-yearold boy was raped by eight boys.

Speaking through her lawyer, the mother of the boy said the alleged rape happened in May last year. She found out about it after the school management telephoned her and asked her to attend a parents’ meeting.

“On arrival, I found other parents waiting for me. I was told my child was raped by other boys. I was shocked to find him there and they had not taken him to the doctor,” said the mother, according to the lawyers’ court papers. “The doctor confirmed that as a result of the rape the child has suffered trauma, emotional and psychologi­cal shock.” The lawyers’ letter states that the parents are demanding R10-million from the department for failing to protect their child.

In the third incident, a 14-yearold teenage boy was allegedly raped by three pupils, while he was in Grade 7 at Dikotelo Primary School in Mametlhake, in Mpumalanga. The alleged rape happened twice on the school premises last year.

Through court papers, the victim’s father said: “He used to spend most of his time locked in the toilet and when I inquired from him what had happened, I found out he was treating his anal wound. He told me he was raped at school.

“I took him to the doctor, who confirmed the rape. The child even tried to commit suicide because of this problem.”

The parents are suing the department for R15-million for not protecting the child.

Mpumalanga department of education spokespers­on Jasper Zwane said: “Kindly be informed that as things stand, all the matters you are referring to are currently in the process of being mediated. To clarify, all three learners and their families are legally represente­d. The department’s lawyers and the lawyers of the respective families are still engaged in mediation proceeding­s.”

The commitment­s made are for the benefit of the young children

 ?? / Mpumalanga News ?? Mpumalanga department of education spokespers­on Jasper Zwane says the matter is being mediated.
/ Mpumalanga News Mpumalanga department of education spokespers­on Jasper Zwane says the matter is being mediated.

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