Four pupils died in Gauteng this week, including a Grade 1 pupil from Hammanskraal who was killed when a goalpost collapsed on him on Wednesday.
In a statement issued on Friday, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi announced four children from different parts of the province had died in the first week of February.
On Tuesday, a Grade 3 pupil from Radineo Primary School in Mabopane was rushed to a nearby clinic after vomiting in class. The pupil was declared dead on arrival.
A Grade 8 pupil from Bophelong Secondary School near Vanderbijlpark also died on Tuesday. While no details were given surrounding the death, Lesufi said the case was being investigated.
Meanwhile, a Year 1 pupil from Belvedere Special School in Benoni died on Tuesday after allegedly drinking poison. Lesufi said the pupil had died at home after arriving from school at 16:00.
“Doctors suspect organophosphate poisoning, however, the circumstances are being investigated.”
The fourth death occurred on Wednesday after a Grade 1 pupil from TN Kudube Primary in Hammanskraal was killed in what is suspected to be a tragic accident.
It is alleged the pupil was waiting for scholar transport after school when a goalpost collapsed on him. Struggling to breathe, he was rushed to Jubilee Hospital where he later died.
The police are investigating the incident, Lesufi said.
Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi. (Gallo Images)
He added other incidents had happened at schools around the province, including the rape of two minors.
“It was reported that on Tuesday, a learner from Soweto was raped after school while waiting for transport. Circumstances surrounding the case are being investigated. Necessary support is being provided to the learner,” Lesufi said.
“Another sad report was received that a 12-year-old learner in Thokoza was raped by an unknown man on her way back home after our scholar transport bus broke down which led to learners walking back home.
“We have launched an investigation on why learners were allowed to walk home, and decisive action will be taken accordingly.”
Assaulted teacher with sjamboks
In a separate incident, two parents, in full view of pupils, allegedly assaulted a teacher with sjamboks at Mayibuye Primary School in Midrand on Tuesday.
“Regrettably, a 57-year-old female educator has not been able to report for duty since Wednesday due to trauma.
“The police are investigating circumstances surrounding this incident, while the teacher has been receiving the necessary support from the employee wellness programme,” Lesufi said.
On Wednesday, two pupils from Lamontagne Primary School in Pretoria were injured after a car knocked down a wall at the school. They were rushed to a local hospital and later discharged.
“We also received a report that on Wednesday, about 12 learners from Noordwyk High School [in Johannesburg] were involved in a motor vehicle accident. They were rushed to local hospitals and discharged after receiving medical attention,” Lesufi said.
The MEC added several bullying cases and fights between pupils were also brought to the department’s attention this week.
“We wish to convey our sincere condolences to all bereaved families during this time of grief, indeed we started academic year 2020 on a bad note, we have been experiencing different deaths and unfortunate incidents in our school environment.”
“It must be said, for many years, we have never undergone through such experience, indeed we are under siege, and lost for words.
“This time around, we have no option but to call upon all spiritual denominations to come together and lead us in prayer, indeed we plead for divine intervention,” Lesufi said.