high school teacher fired

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

The Mpumalanga education department has fired a high school teacher who burnt a pupil's breasts when she threw hot soup at her after an altercation.

The department said yesterday that Enesia Ubisi, a teacher at DD Mabuza High School, was dismissed after she was found guilty of intentionally burning a pupil.

The school is situated at Block B in Tonga in the Nkomazi area.

The department's spokesman, Hlahla Ngwenya, said Ubisi was found guilty of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm after pouring hot soup on Debra Hlobile Mkhondo.

Ngwenya said Ubisi apparently splashed Mkhondo, 20, with the soup during an argument last year while at a study camp. "At the time, the pupils were being served lunch and there was a disagreement between Mkhondo and Ubisi on whether she wanted beef or chicken soup."

"The teacher argued that all pupils who did not want to be served beef were told to register their names. And when Mkhondo insisted that she did register in the chicken list, an argument ensued during which Ubisi threw hot soup at Mkhondo."

Mkhondo sustained third degree burns to her breasts and was taken to Tonga Hospital. But the teacher was not arrested because the Mkhondo family decided not to lay charges against her.

But, the department hauled her before a disciplinary hearing last year. The verdict was only released this week as the presiding officer, Willie Kutumela, needed more time to study evidence from both Mkhondo and Ubisi.

Ngwenya warned that teachers should refrain from any form of corporal punishment towards pupils as "no such actions will be accepted by the department".

"It is the duty of the teachers to uphold the law and abide by the Educators Act," he said.

The South African Council for Educators has condemned the teacher's actions and welcomed the sentence.