The SA Council of Educators (SACE) says it will conduct its own investigation into the actions of a Grade 10 Newcastle teacher who allegedly poured boiling water over six pupils.

According to a source, who has knowledge of the incident, it took place last Tuesday at Siyamukela High School in Madadeni, Newcastle. The source said the pupils returned to class late after the lunch break, which angered the educator.

The source further alleged that the teacher stopped them, made them wait outside, and instructed another pupil to take a water bottle and fill it with boiling water from the teacher’s staff room.

The source alleged that “He then poured the water on those six pupils who were late. They cried. He told them that they are late and they should have got to class before the bell rang”.

The source further claimed that the pupils sustained minor injuries.

KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said the department was made aware of the “shocking ”incident.

Mahlambi said the department had approached the teacher and asked about the allegations. He said the teacher did not dispute the allegations.

Hr said “We then decided to suspend the teacher pending the investigation and the disciplinary hearing”.

Mahlambi said that the department would be conducting a disciplinary hearing against the teacher very soon. He added that “We don’t know what happened at this stage and it is during the hearing where we will be able to get all the details about the incident”.

Themba Ndhlovu, SACE spokesperson said these types of incidents “tarnish the image of the whole industry and they cannot be tolerated”.

He further said that the council would be in contact with the provincial department seeking information as they would also be conducting its own investigation.

Ndhlovu added that “The teacher must answer to these allegations. It is the recommendations from the disciplinary hearing that will guide the council on what necessary steps must be taken against the teacher. This is serious. We will formulate a file and investigate the matter. As the department has suspended the teacher, they are proceeding with their processes. We will also be starting our independent processes of investigation”.

Ward councillor in the area Sizwe Mngomezulu said that when he heard about the incident, he immediately visited the school. He said that the school refused to give him more information about the incident due to the matter being referred to the department for an investigation.

Mngomezulu said “I am still waiting for the investigation by the department as I also want to find out what happened”.

DA Education spokesperson Imran Keeka said corporal punishment was a criminal act and charges should be opened to ensure that the police investigate.

Keeka said that the party would also follow up on progress in the matter by submitting a written parliamentary question to KwaZulu-Natal Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu.

He said if the allegations proved to be true, the actions of the teacher were not only sickening but also require stern action by the department.