School principal assaults parent, driver

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

Simon Mkhantswa, the controversial owner of Cefups Academy in Mpumalanga, is in court again - this time for allegedly assaulting a former teacher at his school and calling a famous traditional healer a "witchdoctor".

Mkhantswa was in court in 1997 for punishing a student by squeezing his testicles.

In 1999 he was sentenced to three months in jail or a R1000 fine for publicly sjambokking his school's English teacher, Lindie Maphanga.

The case of squeezing the pupil's testicles was thrown out of court when witnesses refused to come forward.

After students marched to the Mpumalanga legislature to protest against corporal punishment at the school, Mkhantswa's private school, in White River, was probed by the Human Rights Commission and the Mpumalanga provincial legislature.

The latest case against Mkhantswa came about after traditional healer Eric Ngobeni, also known as "Dr Hlatikhulu", visited his two sons at the school and Mkhantswa allegedly attacked him and his driver, Hendrick Mthetwa.

"He came up to us and pointed at me saying he had been searching for me for a long time," said Ngobeni.

"Before I knew it, he was hitting me all over my body with a stick."

Mthetwa, who once taught at the school for two weeks, said his only offence was to have left the school after discovering that teachers were also sjambokked as part of disciplinary action.

He said Mkhantswa assaulted him and Ngobeni in front of pupils and teachers.

"While assaulting me, he warned that he would deal with me in a way that would cause me to ask Hlathikhulu, my new boss, to bewitch him," said Mthetwa.

Hlatikhulu said he was shocked to hear that Mkhantswa had implied that he bewitched people.

"You don't say such things because that means he has identified me as a witch," said an angry Hlatikhulu

Both Hlatikhulu and Mthetwa have laid charges against Mkhantswa for assault and accusing Ngobeni of practicing witchcraft.

The Nelspruit police had not arrested Mkhantswa by yesterday afternoon.