A 16-year-old female learner who is accused of assaulting a fellow high school learner in the Zululand District, was sentenced to three months in prison after she failed to appear in court.
KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Education Kwazi Mshengu welcomed the sentencing of the teen who is accused of assaulting a fellow learner from Mathole High School in Mahlabathini.
Following a video footage that circulated on various social media platforms in September 2020 showing a female learner severely assaulting a fellow girl learner, the family of the victim opened a case at a local police station in Mahlabathini.
The accused learner was charged with assault with intention to cause grievous bodily harm. She was released on warning and under the care of the mother since she was only 16 years old.
On 23 February 2021, she was supposed to appear in court, however, she was not present.
Her parents did not know her whereabouts. The matter was then postponed to 9 March 2021 for an enquiry to be conducted to establish the reasons for her non-attendance.
At the enquiry she failed to provide reasons and the magistrate found her guilty for failing to appear in court and sentenced her to three months imprisonment.
The Grade 11 learner, who has started serving the three months jail term, is expected to appear before the court once again on 31 March 2021 where the matter of assault with intention to cause grievous bodily harm will once again be heard.
Reacting to the news of the three-month sentence and the likelihood of another sentence for assaulting a fellow learner, MEC Mshengu said he was pleased with the manner in which law enforcement agencies have dealt with the matter.
“We have had a number of cases involving learners that are bullying others in schools.
“Despite our spirited campaigns to plead with our learners to desist from this behaviour, it appears that some continue to disregard our call. We hope that this sentence and the likelihood of another one for assault will serve as a deterrent and a harsh lesson to all other wayward learners. We, therefore, welcome the sentence,” Mshengu said.
Internally, the Department also embarked on its own processes which led to the Tribunal making a recommendation for expulsion of the accused learner.