'Tortured' boy too terrified to face school
By African Eye News Service
The Star, January 21, 2002

An Mpumalanga couple are desperate to organise counselling for their 13-year-old son who refused to return to school last week because his teacher and three accomplices allegedly tortured him last year.

Kenneth Mpofu, a former pupil at Tiga Primary School in Daantjie Tribal Trust near Nelspruit, was allegedly sjambokked, dunked in a river until he nearly drowned, and burnt with molten plastic and cigarettes after being accused of stealing a handbag in October last year.

He may never father a child because of the severity of the burns he received to his genitals, and he refuses to go back to school because does not trust the teachers.

Mpofu's parents Ben and Eunice say they have failed to convince their son to go to another school.

The assault was reported to the KaNyamazane police in October but no investigating officer was assigned and the case has recently been handed over to the Child Protection Unit.

The couple withdrew Mpofu and his twin sisters Lilly and Bella, 9, from Tiga Primary last year because they feared for their children's safety.

The teacher, Thandi Nkosi, 42, is still employed at the school.

Nkosi, her husband Robert Ngubane, 31, and two friends, Sam Ntsibande, 29, and Bongani Nkuna, 31, were arrested after Mpofu was admitted to Themba Hospital near White River.

Nkosi accused Mpofu of stealing her handbag containing R2 700. He was allegedly dunked in the Crocodile River, then taken to the teacher's house and sjambokked and burnt with cigarettes and molten plastic all over his body. The four accused are all out on R800 bail each.

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