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School Head charged with child abuse after putting boy into a pit toilet to search of his mobile

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Lubeko Mgandela, who was charged with child abuse, headteacher of Luthuthu Junior Secondary School, has been suspended while officials are investigating the matter.

A headteacher of Luthuthu Junior Secondary School, located in Eastern Cape province in South Africa, was charged with child abuse after putting an 11-year-old school boy’s life into danger by sending him into a pit toilet to find his mobile phone.

The incident took place early this month when Mgandela accidentally dropped his mobile into a school toilet.

There have also been demands for his licence to be cancelled.

When the schoolboy was unable to find his cell phone, he picked up the boy with the help of a rope, and when he came up, he was totally covered with faeces.

Seeing this, other students made so much fun of him that he couldn’t return to school, as stated by the boy’s family.

For his efforts, he was paid 50 rands ($3.4) even though the headteacher had promised him that he will pay him 200 rands ($13.58) if he found the phone.

“It has been hard for my grandchild to go to school because he has been laughed at by other pupils,” the boy’s grandmother told GroundUp.

The incident points out the South African government’s efforts to remove pit toilets, most of which are in poor rural areas.

At least two students, one in 2014 and another in 2018, have fallen into school toilets and drowned.

President Cyril Ramaphosa was so horrified by the deaths and the substandard toilet facilities in many of South Africa’s schools that he vowed all would have proper toilets within two years.

But more than 3,800 schools across the country still use pit toilets, according to official figures.

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