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Corpun file 0318 at www.corpun.com
Cape Times, Cape Town, 17 September 1996
Cuts a rights issue, says ANC
Schools must retain the cane - ACDP
WHILE THE ANC argues that corporal punishment in schools will be deemed unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court, the African Christian Democratic Party wants it retained for serious misconduct. Education Writer CAROL CAMPBELL reports.
GIVING a child a hiding at school was an infringement of their human rights and, in abolishing corporal punishment, South Africa had shown itself to be an international leader in protecting children, ANC MP Ms Naledi Pandor said yesterday.
Speaking at a meeting of the National Assembly's education committee, to "informally" discuss amendments to the South African Schools Bill, Pandor said a British boy was in the process of taking his parents to court for violating his human rights by smacking him and cases like this should not be forgotten when passing new legislation.
She was responding to a request from Mr Louis Green of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) that corporal punishment be allowed in schools "in the case of misconduct of a serious nature".
Green said: "Many countries like the USA (in some states) and Zimbabwe do not regard corporal punishment in schools as cruel and inhuman' punishment.
"The prohibition of corporal punishment in the bill seems to be based on the incorrect assumptions that it is unconstitutional and the Constitutional Court will rule it to be so.
"The Constitutional Court has not made a ruling on the matter and the prohibition of corporal punishment therefore appears to be premature."
Mr Randall van der Heever, the spokesman for the ANC, said the circumstances that led to a student being suspended or expelled from a school had to be clarified in the bill so that the same rules could be applied consistently at all schools.
The new bill needed to lay down an expulsion process and a period of suspension had to be agreed on, so that "this form of punishment would not be abused", he said.
The ANC also recommended that no school governing body be allowed to run "any" admission tests on prospective pupils, because this could lead to an "abuse of power" by governing bodies.
The party's suggestion that the section on a language policy for schools be dropped completely from the bill is expected to raise much debate, especially from the National Party and Freedom Front, when the groups meets this morning to formalise changes to the bill.
There is a strong feeling, especially among Afrikaans speakers, that a community should be allowed to decide the medium of instruction at its school and that this right be formalised in legislation governing schools.
Van der Heever said the clause should be wiped out because it was "covered by the Constitution Bill".
After the meeting National Party spokesman Mr Renier Schoeman said his party would put their amendments to the bill on the negotiating table this morning.
"We refuse to be rushed through this legislation in the same way the National School's Policy Bill was pushed through Parliament.
"This is too important and too much consensus has been reached at great effort throughout the country for us to allow one or two submissions to destroy that good work," he said.
All Material © copyright Independent Newspapers 1996.
Corpun file 0363 at www.corpun.com
Cape Times, Cape Town, 19 September 1996
Pupils go on the rampage
School wrecked over caning
By Carol Campbell
ANOTHER township school, Bulumko Senior Secondary, was smashed up by its pupils this week when they went on the rampage, damaging teachers' cars and breaking windows, after a teacher walloped a schoolboy for shouting.
Last week Guguletu Comprehensive Secondary School was vandalised by pupils demanding the school pay for their matric dance. The governing body later suspended 180 of the pupils who allegedly caused the damage.
Yesterday a pupil from Bulumko, in Khayelitsha, said the teacher had given the guilty boy seven cuts on the hand for calling to a friend apparently breaking an agreement with the student representative council that three cuts be the maximum punishment.
The Western Cape Education Department banned corporal punishment in school several months ago and, once the Schools Bill is passed by Parliament, it will be against the law to hit a child at school.
This week Mr Louis Green from the African Christian Democratic Party asked for the bill to be changed to allow teachers to give hidings, but his request was dismissed by Ms Naledi Pandor of the ANC. She said South Africa was among countries leading the drive to abolish the cane in schools.
Police spokeswoman Sergeant Vivienne Lentoor said police fired teargas to disperse the protesters after they directed their anger at the police and started throwing stones at police vehicles.
She confirmed that a charge of public violence had been laid by the school principal.
The pupil said parents and teachers had decided, without consulting the pupils, that corporal punishment be retained at the school irrespective of what was decided in Parliament.
"We are not opposed to corporal punishment if it is done properly, but there is one teacher particularly who gives us cuts all the time."
He said pupils were frustrated because they were not included in decision-making at the school, especially as they had raised funds by holding discos and beauty competitions.
The Schools Bill also makes allowance for high school pupils to be included on a school's governing body and be party to major decisions affecting pupils.
Western Cape Education Department spokesman Ms Nomkhita Makosana said the department was "deeply concerned" about the incidents and was awaiting reports from the area manager and the principal.
Makosana said parents and teachers would meet today to decide how to deal with the problem.
Yesterday most pupils arrived for lessons but by mid-morning the school was deserted, after intimidated teachers failed to arrive.
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