Principal under probe

ATTACK CLAIM: Colbert Nyathi said he had to defend himself. © Sowetan.
ATTACK CLAIM: Colbert Nyathi said he had to defend himself. © Sowetan.

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

A high school principal who is allegedly demanding R500 compensation from two families after two pupils punched him, is being investigated by the Mpumalanga education department.

The principal of Maripe High School in Greenvalley near Acornhoek has allegedly suspended the Grade 11 boys for punching him on January 11.

One of the boys, Colbert Nyathi, 18, told Sowetan that they punched principal Nelson Phenduka Matha- bele while he was assaulting them with a sjambok.

"We were trying to defend ourselves because the principal was assaulting us with a sjambok in a bid to force us to go to class.

"He then suspended us and is forcing our parents to pay him R500," said Nyathi.

Mathabele allegedly fell on a table and injured his waist after being punched in the eye.

He then apparently consulted a medical doctor who charged him R250 and referred him to a chemist where he paid another R250 for medication.

Nyathi's mother Meisie, 47, told Sowetan that the principal called her and the other family to the school after the alleged incident.

"The principal told us that our sons were suspended because they had punched him.

"He demanded R250 from each of us for his medical expenses. We are still trying to borrow money to pay him," she said.

Nyathi said she was forced to borrow the money because she relied on a disability grant.

The other suspended boy was identified as Howard Mohlala, 19. He was not around when Sowetanlooked for him on Monday.

Provincial education department spokesman Jasper Zwane confirmed that they were investigating the matter.

"We have asked the regional education manager to investigate. He will report to the head of department afterwards," said Zwane.

Attempts to speak to Mathabale proved fruitless yesterday.

Maripe High is one of a few e-schools on the continent because they are sponsored by an agreement under the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad).