The release of the video was apparently the spur that caused authorities to take action. Prior to that, the case was just being allowed to die.
Police in KwaZulu-Natal have confirmed that the teen who bought a fellow school pupil at a school in Inanda has been arrested after his father handed him over.
Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has taken a personal interest in the case and has said he will meet with all the affected parties.
He referred to the perpetrator as a “small boy” who didn’t know what he was doing. He added that the violent act had been a misguided attempt at seeming powerful.
Earlier, the KwaZulu-Natal education department identified Siyathuthuka Secondary School in Inanda, north of Durban, as the school where a 17-year-old schoolgirl was violently assaulted by a fellow learner in a video that went viral on social media.
The 20-second clip, which was condemned by the national department of basic education, shows the pupil in uniform being brutally kicked in the back and head several times by the schoolboy while another male learner does nothing to help the girl, but seems to be encouraging the attack.
The incident reportedly took place in November last year and the girl’s father, a single parent, took his daughter out of the school in fear for her safety when the shocking video was shared among pupils and teachers and went viral in the community.
The schoolgirl’s father – whose name has been withheld to avoid further trauma – said he complained to the school’s management, but he was told they were apparently not aware of the incident. He said the boy’s family was not helpful either.
“I then went to the local satellite police station, but the police said they would not charge the boy because it wouldn’t help as a court would release him on bail,” the father was quoted as saying by The Times.
He said he thought about taking the law into his own hands after he felt victimised, helpless and humiliated when he saw the video a few weeks later, but decided his daughter should change schools instead.
The schoolgirl’s sister also said she reported the incident to the school, but no action was taken against the perpetrator.
She claimed the brutal attack occurred after she and a group of learners, including the perpetrator, teased each other.
“He lost it and slapped me on the face. Later my sister went to him to inquire what had happened.
“That’s where the argument started, and he beat her and kicked her to the ground in between the computer laboratory and other classrooms while another boy took the video as he cheered him on,” she said.
The perpetrator left the school, and is now in KwaMashu, north Durban, according to the family.