'Bunking, bonking and boozing'

McKeed Kotlolo

McKeed Kotlolo

A Mpumalanga special school has been rocked by a "sex and drugs and alcohol" scandal involving pupils.

Platorand Special School in Belfast trains teenage "slow learners" and children from troubled families in technical skills such as motor mechanics, computers, woodwork, entrepreneurship, welding and home economics.

The school has been hit by allegations of drug and alcohol abuse and unprotected sex among pupils, some of whom were allegedly impregnated by fellow pupils.

Schoolboys allegedly smoke dagga before class in the morning, and on weekends they scale walls to drink liquor at shebeens at a disused railway station behind the school.

The most recent incident allegedly occurred at the weekend when four black pupils were caught making love in the boys' hostel on Saturday. The next day two white girls and a white boy were also found in flagrante delicto in the girls' hostel, say reliable sources at the school.

The parents were notified of and four of the pupils, including the three white pupils, were reportedly taken home by their parents.

The deputy chairman of the school's governing body, Magdalena Kwapeng, confirmed the allegations.

She also confirmed the weekend's allegations of pupils' involvement in sex.

"A disciplinary hearing was arranged for Tuesday, but I could not attend as I was busy assisting a local family with funeral arrangements. I have not yet received the outcome," she said.

The school's principal, Dick Watts, could not be reached for comment as he was on sick leave while his deputy was said to be in a meeting.

Hlahla Ngwenya, spokesman for the provincial MEC for education, Siphosezwe Masango, said they were not aware of the allegations of drug and alcohol abuse at the school.

Regarding the sex scandals, Ngwenya said: "we have not received such a report."

A 14-year-old boy told Sowetan that older pupils hide in the ceiling of their dormitories so they can smoke dagga undetected by the staff.

Pupils were not allowed to take medication to their rooms, "but some get hold of pain killers, particularly Panado tablets, which they grind and add to other substances. They sniff the substance to get high."

Others allegedly sniff glue and when high, "do not listen to anyone. They also steal equipment from the workshops which they sell to maintain their habit", some girls alleged.

Several pupils took ill allegedly as a result of drug overdose. They were allegedly treated at a local clinic.

Another pupil told Sowetanthey were able to move from one dormitory to another by crawling in the ceiling.