Durban – THE Education Department has issued a stern warning to school principals who use illegal forces to instil discipline at schools, following allegations that the Effingham Secondary School principal used a squad of “goons” to interrogate pupils suspected of dealing drugs at the school.
The principal was escorted off the school grounds by police officers on Friday, after complaints by some pupils’ parents. A case of common assault was opened by one of the parents at Greenwood Park police station after the men allegedly assaulted and interrogated certain pupils.
According to the Independent on Saturday, the pupils cheered as the principal, Inderan Govender, was escorted off school property.
He is accused of getting five men to assault certain pupils last Thursday.
It was reported that the pupils were allegedly stripped and assaulted by men armed with knuckle-dusters.
One of the pupils reportedly said he had been pushed into a toilet and stripped.
“Then one guy pushed my head under the water in a basin,” he said.
When he put his clothes back on, he noticed that they had put a cigarette and dagga in his pockets.
A Grade 11 pupil was allegedly beaten up by the men, called a drug dealer and taken to the principal’s office.
Department spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said Govender was obviously worried about the drug problem at the school, but using outside forces and violence was wrong.
Mahlambi said that due to the seriousness of the allegations against Govender, the department would investigate and act accordingly.
He said Govender had been suspended, pending the outcome of the investigation. Should the allegations against him be found to be true, the department would deal with him in a way that would send a strong message to other schools.
“We are not going to allow our schools to be run by outside forces, and most of all not through violence,” said Mahlambi.
He said Govender should have used the services of the police and other recognised law enforcement agencies to conduct search and seizures.
The police yesterday confirmed that a case of common assault was being investigated.
Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane said Govender had not been charged.
“There is currently no case opened against him. We urge parents to come forward with information and to open cases if they need to,” said Zwane.