SAHRC left shocked after hearing about bullying incidents at Limpopo schools

The SAHRC's hearings are aimed at finding out whether the Limpopo Education Department and other role-players were adequately addressing bullying as well as corporal punishment and sexual misconduct by teachers in Limpopo schools.

The SAHRC on day 3 of its hearing on bullying, corporal punishment and sexual relationships between educators and learners in schools in Limpopo on 20 May 2021. Picture: @SAHRCommission/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said that it was shocked by some incidents described in hearings into bullying in Limpopo schools.

The hearings began on Tuesday and ended with NGOs, student organisations and parents pointing fingers at the failures in the education system.

The SAHRC initiated the hearings following the suicide of Mbilwi Secondary School pupil, Lufuno Mavhunga.

The 15-year-old pupil took her own life after a video showing her being bullied by another pupil went viral on social media last month.

Last week, a teacher at the same school was arrested for the alleged rape of a learner.

The hearings aimed to find out whether the Limpopo Education Department and other role-players were adequately addressing bullying as well as corporal punishment and sexual misconduct by teachers in Limpopo schools.

The inquiry heard how teachers or other authorities often swept such incidents under the rug.

SAHRC provincial manager Victor Mavhidula said that some of the details were shocking.

"The South African Council of Educators, the way in which they relate to the Department of Education does not protect our learners because the principals of schools are hiding information from the Department of Education. That's why we are concerned that the department has folded its arms and does not request the information from the principals after any incidents of bullying have been reported."

Mavhidula said that the commission would follow up on the cases that were bought forward during the hearings, with a final report expected soon.

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