A nine-year-old has died after he was allegedly beaten by a teacher with a plastic pipe for making noise in the classroom.
The teacher at Osizweni township in northern KwaZulu-Natal was suspended yesterday.
Thulani Maduma of Qhophumlando Higher Primary School was brought home unconscious on Thursday midday in his principal's car.
His father, Bongani Maduma, told Sowetan yesterday that the school first led the family to believe that Thulani had only fainted in class.
But as fellow classmates came to the family to offer their condolences, the news emerged on how Thulani fainted after the teacher had hit him over the hand twice.
The provincial department of education said yesterday it had suspended the teacher pending an internal investigation.
Spokesperson Sihle Mlotshwa said they were saddened by the news of the death of a pupil and allegations that the teacher was involved .
"We are stressing to all schools to remember that corporal punishment is not allowed and is against the law, Those who continue to practise it will be dealt with very harshly," Mlotshwa said.
"According to Thulani's classmates, who witnessed the incident, the teacher hit him with a pipe. He rubbed his hands hard and screamed before he fainted," Maduna said.
Thulani was on the list of pupils, who had been making noise when the teacher was out of the classroom.
The teacher allegedly assaulted the pupils that were on the list, including Thulani, with a plastic water pipe.
Maduma said were it not for Thulani's classmates the family would never have known what really happened that day.
"I have opened a case at the Osizweni police station," Maduma said. "What frustrates me the most is that I have spoken to the teacher in question more than once.
"He at first denied the incident but later confessed to having hit the child with a pipe.
"He said the child had only fainted later and not because of being hit."
Police spokesperson Jay Naicker yesterday confirmed that an investigation was under way.