'Pay us for classroom death'

THE family of a 9-year-old boy who died after a teacher allegedly hit him at school wants to be compensated for their loss.

The distraught family insistthey are entitled to compensation from the department of education because Thulani Maduma died while at school.

The teacher, who has since been suspended, allegedly hit the child on the hand and he fainted and died.

The boy was taken home by the principal who reported that the child had just "fainted" in the classroom. But it emerged later that the teacher had earlier hit the child for making a noise in class.

Thulani's father said weeks after the incident the pain of losing their child was still fresh.

"My wife has not been herself since our child's death. We were not in school when the incident happened but we were only given the body of our child.

"The mornings are worse when she sees other children going to school," Maduma said.

The teacher is being investigated by the South African Council for Educators.

Should the teacher be found guilty of misconduct and meting out corporal punishment, she could be blacklisted from teaching.

Department spokesperson Mbali Thusi said the internal investigation was still pending and once the investigation was completed the family would be contacted and informed about the findings.

"At the moment we cannot jump the gun, we need to give the investigation a chance to conclude and then we will act on the recommendations made by the investigation."

A postmortem, which was conducted after Thulani's death, revealed the child died of natural causes.

Although the teacher has not been charged, police have indicated to the family that they wish to exhume the body to conduct a second postmortem but the family has refused.