Siphamandla ‘died of cancer’

Siphamandla Choma pictured with his uncle, Johannes.

This is according to a well placed source close to the investigation, who revealed details of the results of a post mortem that was conducted on Thursday last week.

Neither the department nor the police want to disclose the results, saying that the investigation was not yet complete.

Siphamandla was allegedly assaulted by the principal of his primary school in Mhluzi late last year, after he was accused of stealing R150. He was left paralysed and his family instituted a legal claim worth R25 Million against the Department of Education. Last Sunday, he died in Middelburg Hospital.

The principal was suspended and was facing a disciplinary hearing within the department on a charge of misconduct.

Last week the department also revealed that the government would pay for Siphamandla’s funeral, expected to take place on 1 April.

But the latest revelation, that Siphamandla died of cancer, collaborates with that of neighbours and residents of Avalon in Mhluzi, who two months ago told the Middelburg Observer that he had been a sick child long before the beating.

This was also published in a previous story.

Media frenzy over paralyzed student

Update: Headmaster remains suspended

One neighbour, who spoke to the Middelburg Observer on condition of anonymity, said that the boy was in and out of hospital with a walking problem for many months before the assault. “It’s possible that the assault aggravated the condition but certainly did not cause it,” she said.

It has also been revealed that the school principal paid several amounts for healthcare following the assault, and only when he stopped paying was the case reported to the Department of Education.

According to Jasper Zwane of the Department of Education, the first disciplinary hearing for the principal, took place on 17 March and is still in process.

Yaseen Gaffar

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