The Principal of  Bonxa Senior Secondary School in Ntabankulu, Mzingisi Zibi stand accused of leading an onslaught against the learners of the school by sexually and physically offending them. This was said by learners of this particular school in a meeting which was attended by leadership of the department of Education and  Mayor of Ntabankulu Local municipality. In this meeting the department was led by  District Director of Education in the Alfred Nzo West Monwabisi Mbangeni and Mayor Cllr Tseleng Sobuthongo.

The two leaders spent the whole day on Friday listening to the moving story of how learners endured raping, severe beating and verbally abuse from the teachers, all this under Zibi’s nose. Learners told the leadership that teachers have for a long time openly falling in love with learners. They said that teachers would go to an extent of having multiple relationships with girl learners as if they are in a competition. Learners have on a number of times engage in a fight in the school yard for a boy friend who is the teacher at the school without any consequences. Reports are also saying that school teachers would be seen drinking liquor in taverns with girl learners.

One 14 year old girl learner remembered when Zibi requested to take her to town so that she can show him the person who sew the school tracksuit for her.  According to the learner, the principal was going to use his car to take the learner to town. “As we were driving to town the principal was touching my bums and thighs. I indicated to him that I am not comfortable with what he was doing. He told me that if I don’t allow him to touch me he will then leave me in town and I said its fine. He left me in town I had to go back to school on my own”, the learner said.

On the other hand school boys complained about severe beating by male teachers despite the fact that corporal punishment was abolished. Boys who were suspected of having relations with girls that are in love with teachers were the most victims of brutal punishment which would see them beaten with sticks and pipes all over their bodies. Learners said they had no one to report these incidents to because teachers would call them liars. Even some of the female teachers were in support of what was happening”, the learners said.

The Friday’s meeting came after an outcry by the community, learners and stakeholders after a 21 year old learner was allegedly raped by Zibi. According to reports the incident occurred in different occasions but was not immediately reported to the police until the girl tried to commit suicide in that way attracting attention of the community. Zibi was arrested on Friday and his suspension letter was served to him while in the cells.

He appeared in court on Monday and the case was postponed to the 20th of June for further investigations. The court heard that more learners have come forward and police are compiling those dockets. Zibi was remanded in custody and will apply for bail on the 20th.

District Director of Education in the Alfred Nzo West Monwabisi Mbangeni described the situation in the school devastating. “Children are traumatised and a lot needs to be done. We have requested that we must be given seven days to sought this mess out. We have started with suspension and we are going to follow up with counselling and more investigations”, said Mbangeni


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