A 16-year-old learner from Mahlabatini in northern KwaZulu-Natal has appeared in the local Magistrate’s Court on charges of assault and defamation.

It is alleged that she beat and bullied a fellow learner – a 20-year-old – outside school premises earlier this week. The incident was captured on video that has since gone viral.

Police Spokesperson Thembeka Mbhele says the accused also tried to commit suicide after her arrest. The video shows a learner being pushed to the ground, hit, and bullied.

It is believed that it was filmed after school. In the video, the victim is heard asking to be left alone, while other learners laugh in the background.

Her family says they are traumatised after seeing how their daughter was beaten and degraded. Her mother says her daughter is now unable to concentrate at school, asking to drop out or change schools because of the teasing she is now subjected to.

“Seeing the video was very upsetting for both me and my daughter to the point that she didn’t want to return to school. She’s been complaining of headaches and a painful pelvis. She says she’s unable to concentrate at school as she’s getting dizzy spells. I’ve heard that the department of education will come but I’m not sure.”

In the video below, KwaZulu-Natal Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu says the incident was an act of humiliation for the other learner: 

 

Community member Smangele Luthuli is urging people to delete the video and to stop spreading it.

“We’re asking that people who have the video to please delete it as it’s very depressing for the child. Already, she’s dealing with being teased at school and spreading the video will make matters worse.”

The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education has since suspended the two pupils who are allegedly responsible for the incident.

Chairperson of the school governing body Abel Mbatha says they are also investigating the matter. “Although the incident took place outside the school premises.”

Meanwhile, Police Spokesperson Thembeka Mbhele says the accused also tried to commit suicide after her arrest. She says she was released from the hospital and into the custody of her parents following her court appearance.

“There was a social media post that was trending where the female learner was assaulting another learner in front of other learners in Mahlabatini. The complainant, the victim, went to open a case at Mahlabatini Police Station, and the suspect was arrested. After she was arrested she tried to commit suicide, was discharged yesterday, and appeared today and will appear again on the 14th. She was released under parent as she is a minor.”

In a separate incident, five school girls have been expelled in connection with an attack on a Grade 10 learner from a school in Newlands East in Durban. The expulsion comes after a lengthy investigation after the incident in February this year.  Author- Nonhlakanipho Magwaza