teacher from hell arrested

Tebogo Monama and Getrude Makhafola

Tebogo Monama and Getrude Makhafola

The saga of the teacher from hell has opened a can of worms in the Emfuleni education district.

First, the Evaton teacher accused of abusing and torturing 23 Grade 2 pupils is under police guard at a hospital.

The provincial education department is also going to report her to the South African Council of Educators, a professional body that regulates conduct of educators.

And, the entire management of the district has been suspended in the wake of the scandal.

The Grade 2 class teacher at Letsema Ilima Primary School was yesterday found in a hospital almost a week after police launched a manhunt for her. She has apparently been admitted to hospital after suffering severe headaches.

The woman has not reported for duty since Monday.

She is facing 23 counts of assault with intent to cause bodily harm after she put a knife in a heater and branded her pupils on their faces and arms after they failed maths sums on Friday.

A seven-year-old pupil said she usually hit them with stones, pricked them with needles and scalded them with hot tea.

Gauteng education spokesman Panyaza Lesufi said: "The district is the worst performing in the Gauteng province."

About the teacher Lesufi said: "We have handed over all evidence regarding the criminal case against her to the police and she must not come near our school until the matter is resolved."

South African Democratic Teachers Union Gauteng secretary Tshidiso Ledimo said: "Issues of assault against learners cannot be tolerated. No normal teacher can do this to a learner."

National Professional Teachers of South Africa official David Balt said: "We need to find out what other misdemeanours she has committed.

"There is no way that she only abused them once."

Although corporal punishment has been abolished in schools, the Gauteng education department has taken disciplinary action against 19 teachers, said the department's Nanagolo Leopeng.

Of these, eight cases are still pending and 11 teachers have been suspended for three months without pay.

During the same period, 23 cases of assault were lodged with the department against teachers at the national office.

Sixteen cases are still pending and two were dismissed.

The other five teachers were issued with final written warnings and maximum fines equal to to their monthly salary.

"Some reasons given by teachers for administering corporal punishment or assault range from learners being naughty therefore leading to them to being frustrated as learners disrespect them," said Leopeng.