Mother seeks justice for son’s finger amputation after alleged teacher assault

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The mother of 21-year-old Mhlengi Dlamini from the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast is seeking justice after four fingers on his right hand were amputated after allegedly being beaten over the knuckles by a teacher in 2019.  

He was a learner at Isolemamba High School in Folweni, south of Durban at the time, but dropped out of school after the amputation.  

Dlamini’s mother Bebhekile Mchunu says she has pursued all avenues to see justice done, but to no avail.  

Dlamini dropped out of the school and moved with his mother as he fears for his life. He alleges that a teacher beat him over the knuckles of his right hand.

Dlamini provides an account of the incident. “A teacher entered in the class and ordered us to stop making a noise. When I was trying to sit down, the teacher took a duster and ordered me to fold my arms and she hit me on knuckles. She was very angry and from there I couldn’t open the hand.”  

Dlamini was taken to hospital with a swollen hand, and Mchunu says doctors told her that the four fingers had to be amputated.

Dlamini says he now only has a thumb on the hand he used to write with. “The local clinic referred me to Prince Mshiyeni hospital and the teacher was the only one who write the statement.  She said I was injured when I was playing soccer which is not true. From that day I couldn’t continue with school as I am school the right hand to write and to do my things. I can’t wash my laundry, nothing.”  

Mchunu says she is concerned that the teacher lied when she wrote a statement at the hospital. “A teacher was refusing to give me a blue card from the hospital to further the matter. When I arrived at the hospital I found that the teacher wrote that my child was injured when he was playing soccer which is not true.  What is painful now is that when I am trying to make a follow about this incident they tell me that they can’t help me because my child got injured from school.” 

Mchunu says she filed a complaint with the police, but it led to nothing. “What hurts me the most is that I opened the case against the teacher and it got lost. And police said they couldn’t help me because I have lost the case number and it was my negligence. And police said I am lying against the department of education. The hand of my child is not working and the house I was staying is no longer there.”  

KwaZulu-Natal Education Department spokesperson, Muzi Mahlambi says the head of department has directed its legal unit to work on the matter.

We are aware of the matter. But the head of the dept has directed the District, the legal dept together with employee relations directorate to work on this matter and table the report to him so that he can be able to take a guided action. But the MEC at the superficial level has been briefed of the matter.”