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Update: Principal to be charged with assault

Siphamandla Choma with his uncle, Johannes.

The Manyano Primary School principal had been undergoing a disciplinary process.

Following the assault, Choma was paralysed from the waists down and he later died in hospital. He and other boys were accused of stealing money from another teacher.

“In terms of section 10 of the South African Schools Act number 84 of 1998, corporal punishment is prohibited. This section provides further that any person who contravenes it is guilty of assault and is liable to a sentence that may be imposed for assault,” department spokesperson Jasper Zwane said in a statement.

“Having considered these factors and the aggravating and mitigating factors, the department concluded that an appropriate sanction in the circumstances was dismissal. The principal, who was not identified, has since been served with a letter of dismissal and advised of his right to appeal the findings of the disciplinary hearing and the sanction within five days,” Zwane said.

Mpumalanga National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) confirmed that the principal would appear in the Middelburg Magistrate’s Court on 5 September on charges of assault, where he will be charged with assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm. The court appearance will be his first appearance.

The charge of assault will be changed to one of culpable homicide if the post mortem results reveal that the cause of death is linked to the assault by the principal.

But according to a well placed source close to the investigation, who revealed details of the results of a post mortem, Siphamandla died of cancer.

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

The family instituted a legal claim worth R25 Million against the Department of Education.

The latest revelation, that Siphamandla died of cancer, collaborates with that of neighbours and residents of Avalon in Mhluzi, who 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.

Siphamandla ‘died of cancer’

Media frenzy over paralyzed student

Update: Headmaster remains suspended

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Yaseen Gaffar
Journalist

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Update: Former principal appears in court