Pupil's 'killer' yet to face justice
THE family of a seven-year-old boy who died several days after he was allegedly assaulted by his teacher fears the case may be swept under the carpet.
Sibongile Monica Mashaba allegedly assaulted Sebenele Ndlovu, a pupil at Sidlemu Primary School in Mangweni Trust near Tonga in Mpumalanga, with a broomstick on June 3 for missing school on June 1.
When he ran out of the classroom crying, Mashaba allegedly ordered his classmates to go and "beat him up because he was pissing her off". They allegedly carried out the instruction and kicked him in the body as he lay on the ground.
Sebenele's father Solomon Ndlovu said he was upset because the police were not keeping them informed about the investigations.
"We do not know what is happening with the investigations. We foresee the case being squashed and the teacher walking free.
"The incident happened about two months ago, surely she should have been arrested by now," Ndlovu said.
The teacher was arrested, but the Tonga Magistrate's Court provisionally struck the case off the roll.
Provincial police spokesman Sergeant Gerald Sedibe said the docket had been sent back to the court for a decision on whether to prosecute or not.
He said investigations were continuing.
Mpumalanga National Prosecutions Authority spokesman Medupi Simasiku said they received the docket but had sent it back to the police. "The investigation is not complete. There is still insufficient evidence to prosecute," Simasiku said.
The provincial department of education suspended the teacher on June 15, but the teacher subsequently handed in her resignation on June 18.
However, education MEC Reginah Mhaule said the teacher had been discharged in terms of the Employment of Educators Act.
The law stipulates that any educator appointed in a permanent capacity who, while suspended from duty, resigns, shall unless the employer directs otherwise, be deemed to have been discharged from service on account of misconduct.
"This simply means that this teacher [Mashaba] will at no stage be employed in public service to work with children in accordance with the Children's Act of 2005," Mhaule said last month.
But this has not brought comfort to Sebenele's family. The postmortem indicated that their little boy had died of unnatural causes.
"It is a good thing that she has been banned from the profession, but she also has to face criminal charges," Ndlovu said.
Sebenele's mother Sibongile Khathwayo, 33, said the pain of losing her child was still fresh. Sebenele's dream was to become a policeman.