‘Deputy principal’s utterances contributed to 12-year-old Mbatha’s suicide’

todayNovember 17, 2023 86

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The family of 12-year-old Sibusiso Mbatha say it is disheartening to know that four adults were at the centre of their child’s demise.

The Grade 6 pupil from Kehlekile Primary school in Thokoza took his own life after he was bullied over his sexuality.

An independent report implicated four officials, including the deputy principal, whose utterances were found to have contributed to Mbatha’s suicide.

The Gauteng Department of Education had appointed BR Rangata Attorney’s to probe the matter.

Baitseng Rangata of BR Rangata Attorneys says the probe found that the deputy principal ill-treated, blasphemed and homophobically abused the deceased.

The law firm says there is substance and merit in the complaints that the deputy principal contributed to Mbatha’s suicide.

Rangata says there is also merit that the teachers, who had an encounter with the pupil, did not handle the matter adequately.

“We also found that the process used by the teachers, which is the HOD and the class teacher in handling the matter when the learner was quarreling with one of the classmates, was not handled properly by the teachers.”

“It is recommended that the deputy principal be charged by putting him on precautionary suspension and a charge sheet be served on him to appear before a disciplinary inquiry.”

BR Rangata Attorneys have also recommended that the principal be charged for failure to uphold his duties and possibly protect his second in charge.

Rangata says the school also failed to record the incident, therefore deeming the charged teachers negligent.

“It is a requirement of the school protocol, that when there’s an incident, you have to fill in the incident book, that did not happen, the boy was sent to the office and for some reason, none of those processes took place.”

Mbatha’s family says it will not tire in seeking justice for the late teenager.

MEC for Education in Gauteng, Matome Chiloane, says legal steps will be taken against all those who have been found wanting.

The MEC also revealed that there are learners who were suspended over this matter.

Chiloane says some learners were intimidated for giving evidence in the probe.

The report has recommended trauma counselling for Mbatha’s family, friends, and classmates.

Written by: Lindiwe Mpanza

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