IFP Warns Teachers to Spare the Rod or Go to Jail

The IFP sends a strong warning to teachers that they must spare the rod, or end up in jail.

This comes after six Siyamukela High School pupils in Newcastle were allegedly assaulted by a teacher with hot water, after they fell asleep in the classroom during the teacher’s lesson last week.

The IFP condemns the alleged conduct by the teacher in the strongest possible terms. No matter how wrong the learners were, the teacher had no authority to pour hot water on the learners. By pouring hot water on them indicates an intent to cause harm, and could even kill them.

The use of corporal punishment in schools is non-negotiable. Teachers know that corporal punishment is illegal in South Africa. Teachers who continue to use corporal punishment in schools must be dealt with accordingly, without fear or favour. Children have the right to be free from all forms of violence, to enjoy their education, and not to be treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman, and degrading way. Corporal punishment effects the very core of a child and can be very destructive to their future engagements with the education system. It is the responsibility of those concerned with the wellbeing of children to be vigilant, and to ensure the reduction and ultimate eradication of corporal punishment.

The IFP reiterates the call it made in 2015 that the KZN MEC of Education in KwaZulu-Natal must urgently organise a Summit on Ending Corporal Punishment and Promoting Positive Discipline. The purpose of this Summit would be to bring together, for the first time, a group of leading policy-makers, attorneys, educators, children’s right activists, and researchers from multiple disciplines, as well as individuals who concur that corporal punishment of children is an unsuitable and potentially damaging way of disciplining and teaching children. The goals of the Summit would be to raise public awareness about the rights of children, and the problems associated with corporal punishment. It should develop strategies advancing the Province’s intention to prohibit and eliminate all corporal punishment of children from all parts of the Province.

The IFP believes that Educators must be provided with alternative disciplinary measures, as opposed to beatings or canings. They can require learners to write a statement describing the negative effects of their behaviour, or the learner can apologise for their mistake in front of their classmates. Every time one becomes upset by a learner’s behaviour, one must remember this simple message: the goal of our actions must, first of all, not be punitive or to enforce our sense of discipline. Rather, it must be to help children to learn self-discipline and the rules of our society and the expectations and values of the culture.

The IFP demands that the Newcastle teacher who is accused of pouring hot water on learners must be charged with attempted murder.

IFP KZN Education Spokesperson
Mrs Thembeni KaMadlopha-Mthethwa, MPL
071 884 3844 or 079 114 3015