Probe into pupil’s death after ‘sjambok beating’ completed

2016-07-20 17:21

Mpumalanga police have completed their investigation into the death of a deputy minister’s niece who died allegedly after a beating at school. 

Provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said the docket about the death last July of Cefups Academy pupil, Paballo Seanne (19), was now in the hands of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). 

“The docket was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions in November and we’re still waiting for a decision on whether the case will be prosecuted or not,” Mohlala said. 

He could not however say if postmortem results proved conclusively that Seanne died as a result of corporal punishment. 

Seanne is Deputy Arts and Culture Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi’s niece. She died after she was allegedly sjambokked for failing a test at the school, which is notorious for administering corporal punishment since it was opened 20 years ago. 

The pupil died at the Nelspruit Medi-Clinic. Cefups management denied she was sjambokked and said she drank an antiseptic. But a doctor told City Press the antiseptic the school claimed she drank could not have resulted in death when ingested. 

City Press also spoke to Seanne’s friend at that time. The friend, who refused to be named, alleged that Seanne was sjambokked for two days in a row after not performing well in maths and English tests. 

The friend said Seanne was given five lashes because she and some of her classmates had failed to obtain 75% in maths. The friend added that Seanne got 40 more lashes the next day for failing English. 

Democratic Alliance education spokesperson, Jane Sithole, called on the NPA to leave no stone unturned. 

“The NPA should ensure that the guilty party or parties are brought to book to prevent such a tragedy from happening again. The DA urges the NPA to prioritise the investigation to ensure that Paballo Seanne’s death was not in vain and to prevent any other similar incidents from occurring in Mpumalanga schools again,” Sithole said. 

The Mpumalanga Department of Education tried to close down the school after conducting an investigation following Seanne’s death but sabotaged itself by bungling the process. 

Read: Sjambok school stays open thanks to govt mistake 

Departmental head, Mahlasedi Mhlabane, violated regulations governing independent schools when she made a decision to shut down Cefups Academy. 

Cefups lodged an urgent application in the North Gauteng High Court and the court found that the school was not given results of the postmortem of the pupil who died before the decision to shut it down was enforced. 

According to the court, Mhlabane should have given the school’s management an opportunity to rectify their mistake, as stipulated in the regulations. 

The department is still trying to ensure the school is closed. The matter is before the court. 

Education spokesperson, Jasper Zwane, declined to comment. 

“Please be informed that the matter relating to the school in question is still the subject of the courts and as such the matter is sub judice. We can assure you that the department will do everything to ensure that justice is done on this matter,” Zwane said.

May 19 2019