Video clip from Transkei school goes viral on Youtube.
AN EASTERN Cape teacher has been caught on video dishing out corporal punishment to schoolgirls in what appears to be the school’s staffroom.
The video, titled Busting Abusive Teachers in South Africa, was loaded onto social media site YouTube on Monday night and has since gone viral.
In the clip 13 pupils are beaten on their hands by a female teacher using a plastic pipe while other teachers can be heard jeering and urging her on.
The teacher could be identified as a Ms Mphaphela from Holomisa Senior Secondary School in Mqanduli. The pupils are believed to be in Grade 11.
“I want that class to be clean,” Mphaphela is heard saying.
“It must look like the others [classes]. I’m giving you five minutes.”
The girls each receive six lashes across their hands and some are seen crying and begging not to be hit.
One unidentified teacher says: “This is what you get when you don’t listen.”
Another can be heard reading pupils’ names from a register.
“Let me sit and eat my fatcakes,” Mphaphela says at the end of the video to one pupil who stands in a corner, weeping, with a hand over her face, showing reluctance to receive her lashings.
When the Daily Dispatch visited the school yesterday, the principal refused to comment on the matter, saying she was busy invigilating matric exams and would not be available until the end of November.
She said she would investigate the claims and track down who recorded the video.
A number of pupils, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said corporal punishment at the school was so bad that last year they organised a protest against it.
“That one [Mphaphela] is the worst of them all. She just uses excessive force,” one Grade 11 pupil alleged.
The pupils said Mphaphela used a pink plastic pipe to beat them.
A former pupil, who matriculated in 1997, was not shocked by the claims.
“It’s really nothing new. They beat us to ‘death’ while we were studying there. Some of those who couldn’t take the beatings ended up quitting school,” he said.
Education spokesman Malibongwe Mtima said the department distanced itself from the teacher’s actions.
Mtima urged pupils to report beatings to both the department and police as it amounted to criminal assault.
The Human Rights Commission (HRC) also plans to investigate.
HRC spokesman Isaac Mangena said they were in the process of visiting the school and would speak to the pupils in order to gauge the severity of the situation. “We need to speak to the kids who were 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,” Mangena said.
Education experts reacted with shock.
Dr Ken Alston said there was no space for corporal punishment in classrooms.
He said schools needed to look into other methods of discipline for both pupils and staff.
“I think the issue here is that the teachers themselves are undisciplined so how do they expect to get respect from the kids,” Alston said.
Graeme Bloch said any teacher caught beating children should be fired as it was illegal.
He added that beating children yielded no positive results.
East London-based educational psychologist Don Junor described corporal punishment as a gross abuse of power and plain assault.
“It’s barbaric and it’s no wonder that children are turning around and beating teachers,” Junor said.
“I’ve had my fair share of corporal punishment when I was at school but what’s happening at schools now is purely unacceptable.
“I’m sure these teachers don’t beat their own children like that.
“I don’t care how unruly the kids are, there is no excuse for that kind of behaviour.”