Education MEC Mthandeni Dlungwana warned Masakhaneni High School pupils that any pupil caught with drugs at the school would be expelled and never school in the province again.
Dlungwana, who described the KwaMakhutha school as a “drug den”, said other than criminal activities and drugs, a lack of discipline added to the school’s challenges.
He was addressing pupils and parents at the school on Monday following the death of two pupils who were stabbed last Monday after they apparently tried to separate pupils who were fighting over a cellphone. Sihle Mngadi, 20, and Mangaliso Mbatha, 18, died at the local clinic.
Violent incidents have allegedly plagued the school since January and apparently worsened when the Department of Education suspended 17 teachers for allegedly selling drugs to pupils.
Yesterday, Dlungwana announced that he would make a decision about the suspended teachers tomorrow. “In order to restore learning and stability, I will make tough decisions that will not make me popular,” he said.
While speaking, he scolded pupils who had been giggling in the background.
“This meeting is no joke. We lost children. As parents, we are here because we lost lives and we take this very seriously. If you think you’re clever by taking drugs and throwing your life away, think again. Those found with drugs will face consequences,” he warned.
Dlungwana said with evidence of a serious offence involving drugs, for example, the department could legally expel a pupil and prevent him or her from schooling in the province.
“The first thing I observed the minute I walked into this meeting was the level of poor discipline. Before we can even begin to address the other issues, you need to sort out behaviour,” he said.
Concerned parents yesterday described the school as a problem in the community.
Parents and pupil representatives cited the issue of theft and robbery of cellphones as the cause of the violence that perpetuated a faction fight between pupils from KwaMakhutha and KwaMthiyane areas.
One of the pupils, Sanele Maphumulo, cried as he spoke about pupils being terrorised by a group of boys.
One parent said her daughter was almost killed recently when she was robbed of her cellphone, allegedly by boys at the school, when returning home from extra classes in the evening.
Mangaliso’s aunt Nomusa Zulu, who spoke on behalf of the Mbatha family, questioned why security had not been increased on the Monday after the initial cellphone fight on the Friday.
“Our children have unfortunately become a sacrifice. We are hoping that their deaths will not be in vain. Let it not happen again,” she said.
Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Mxolisi Kaunda said parents should make sure cellphones remained at home.
“This school needs to enforce strict rules about cellphones at school. It interferes with learning and it’s a major problem perpetuating crime at this school,” he said.
Source: Daily News