Twenty-eight female guards were unfairly dismissed by a security company because the client‚ Metrora.
Pupils and mothers have been urged to report cases of abuse, regardless of whether the abuser is a breadwinner or family member.
This was the message given at a march led by the provincial department of education yesterday in protest against woman and child abuse.
Education officials, pupils and teachers took to the streets of Pietermaritzburg to protest against rampant domestic abuse, which also "has a negative effect on education".
MEC for education Ina Cronje said her department was the custodian of more than a million children who - judging from what teachers who attended the march said - experienced high levels of child abuse.
"I have been part of various campaigns apart from the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children. I have been a witness to the hurtful lifestyles that some children are raised under," she said.
Cronje said there were cases of children being sexually abused without such cases being reported "because the abuser is the breadwinner or a member of the family".
"This gathering urges all parents and pupils to be brave and report such cases of abuse so that the department and teachers can take effective action and teach," she said.
Cronje said during a visit to a house in Chatsworth she discovered a child-headed home in which children as young as five were left in the care of an 18-year-old pregnant girl. She said in such cases learning was almost impossible.
"Teachers have a responsibility to identify children subjected to abuse at home and to assist and protect them," she said.
Pupils, parents and teachers at the march pledged to report any kind of abuse they might come across.
They also lit candles as a sign of their commitment to promoting education and reporting abuse against women and children.