The Department of Basic Education is extremely concerned by the irresponsible call from the Congress of South African Students (COSAS) to retaliate with violence when confronted with corporal punishment by teachers.
Violence begets violence and this cannot be the answer, this call is completely unacceptable. We cannot allow a situation where our schools are turned into war zones, or places where violence between teachers and learners becomes common place.
This call has the risk of escalating the incidents of violence where both learners and teachers could be at risk of serious harm and will not be tolerated in any school. There is a concern that the irresponsible behaviour of COSAS could result in learners bringing weapons to school and teachers doing the same in an attempt to defend themselves, such a scenario could quickly deteriorate out of control and have dire consequences.
Any learner who is found to be promoting violence in schools will face disciplinary action as there are other avenues they can follow to report and deal with illegal corporal punishment.
The South African Council of Educators (SACE) is responsible for ensuring that teachers uphold the highest standards of professionalism and they will manage the disciplinary matter of any teacher found in breach of the rules.
We call upon COSAS to retract this call and to discourage their members from committing any act of violence. They must indeed assist learners by ensure all learners report cases of corporal punishment as opposed to encouraging retaliation. COSAS organises and represents learners for the ANC and we are confident that this call is misguided and flies in the face of ANC policy that upholds the rule of law and promotes peace at all costs.
Enquiries: Elijah Mhlanga – 083 580 8275
Troy Martens 079 899 3070
ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF BASIC EDUCATION