By Staff Reporter
The basic education department says it will embark on a nationwide roadshow in a bid to stamp out bullying in schools.
This comes after Lufuno Mavhunga, a grade 10 pupil from Mbilwi High School in Limpopo, committed suicide after a video of her being bullied went viral online.
The incident has been widely condemned and the pupil who committed the bullying was arrested on assault charges.
Addressing a National Assembly debate on bullying among pupils at schools on Thursday, basic education deputy minister Reginah Mhaule said the department will start the roadshow in Johannesburg.
“The department will be launching a nationwide roadshow — a drive to stamp out bullying and substance abuse in all our schools — in Orange Farm. We are serious about demonstrating to the country and the world that bullying, cyberbullying, including drug abuse and substance abuse, will not be tolerated in our schools and communities in general,” said Mhaule.
She said the department’s message to pupils was that they discourage the attitude of pupils being bystanders and cheerleaders when others are bullied.
“National strategic planning on gender-based violence and femicide is taken seriously by the president, who declared gender-based violence and femicide as a second pandemic. And if this pandemic is happening at homes, these young ones will learn from home and take it to school,” said Mhaule.
MPs on Thursday put aside their usual differences and condemned bullying at schools, using Mavhunga’s case as a reference.
IFP MP Mthokozisi Nxumalo said, “Schools are spaces where all learners should feel safe and where they can be sure that they will be respected by their peers. There is no way that unsafe schools are conducive for learning.”
DA MP Luyolo Mphithi said the problem of bullying and cyberbullying had long persisted at schools across the country.
“Its affects are not only physical and psychological, it’s a matter of life and death. In SA countless children fall victim to bullying, harassment and abuse at schools,” said Mphithi.
He linked gender-based violence to bullying at schools.
ACDP MP Steve Swart criticised the lack of research on learner wellness and bullying by the department of basic education.