Ex-pupil sues teacher and state for R4m
Says teacher assault left him disabled
A FORMER pupil is suing the Department of Basic Education and his former primary school teacher for R4m for injuries he sustained in Grade 3 - and which he says left him disabled.
Selby Oupa Mokonyama, 22, has filed papers at the Pretoria High Court in which he alleges that his class teacher severely assaulted him with a broomstick when he was eight years old.
Mokonyama says he was punished for making a noise while his teacher was at a meeting in the principal's office.
He had been at Molemo Primary School in Zebediela, Limpopo, for only three months, he says.
Mokonyama, who lives in Mamelodi East, says he cannot walk without crutches.
"I was not born disabled," he says. "I loved playing soccer. She robbed me off a possibly bright future and never even said sorry."
He says most of his classmates would also have been assaulted that day but he was the unfortunate one since he was the first to be punished.
He alleges that the teacher hit him seven times on his buttocks, injuring his spinal cord.
"It was the most painful beating I was ever subjected to. I fell to the ground and could not get up again," he recalls.
"My screams drew the attention of a teacher next door who came to my rescue. I have been from one hospital to another but there is nothing the doctors can do for me."
He says he eventually had an operation and was able to sit but the operation did not restore his balance.
"I have had training from physiotherapists but it is like riding a dead horse. I dreamed of being a soccer player and a mechanical engineer. She destroyed my life."
Mokonyama says he was forced to drop out of school because his schoolmates called him names.
"I cried almost every time I looked in the mirror because I was not born like this."
Mokonyama says he went to an FET college last year but his family ran out of money. He is now waiting for his family to raise funds. The case was postponed to allow the education department time to respond.