While violence in schools is on the rise in Johannesburg, a Winterveldt teacher lost a bid to hold the Department of Basic Education accountable for her attack.

The teacher from Smangaliso Mkhatshwa Secondary School in Winterveldt took the department and the school governing body to court for damages after being stabbed by a pupil in 2014.

According to court papers, the teacher was in class teaching the Grade 11 learners when the incident happened. The learner had come to school with a hairstyle that did not comply with the school dress code.

When another teacher confronted him about it, the learner went home and fetched a knife. When he came back to school during the female teacher’s lesson, he was then confronted again by the male teacher who asked him to go outside.

On his way out, he stabbed the female teacher, inflicting three wounds on her left shoulder.

The teacher took the department and the school to the North Gauteng High Court to demand damages from the stabbings claiming they failed to offer protection for her while she was at work.

Judge Joseph Raulinga ruled in favour of the department that the claim by the teacher was precluded in terms of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act.

Citing a previous case, Judge Raulinga said:

 “Occupational injury is defined as personal injury sustained as a result of an accident It follows, therefore, that any personal injury sustained by an employee caused by any criminal act arising out of and during the course of an employee’s employment amounts to an accident”

Raulinga ruled that the department and the school weren’t negligent and therefore the teacher “is not entitled to the damages claim”.

Over the past few years, schools have been battlegrounds with violence between pupils and teachers. Earlier this year, a 17-year-old North West pupil was sentenced to 10 years in jail for killing teacher Gadimang Mokolobate.

The pupil pleaded guilty to stabbing Mokolobate to death after an altercation over the feeding scheme at Ramotshere Secondary School.


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