The family of Lufuno Mavhunga, who committed suicide after a recording of her being assaulted by a fellow learner went viral, is hoping for justice.
Mavhunga overdosed on medication and died upon arrival at the Siloam Hospital on Monday.
Her assaulter, 15-year-old girl from Mbilwi Secondary School, outside Thohoyandou, in Limpopo has been arrested.
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Lufuno’s family says it is disappointed with the manner in which the school management handled the reports of bullying on the day of the assault.
Her brother, Kenneth Mavhunga, says a preliminary report from the school reveals that Lufuno and her assailant were taken to the principal’s office by a security guard immediately after the fight.
“As the family, we feel like maybe if they had intervened maybe at that particular time and make sure that they do their work diligently because the matter was reported, the kids were taken to the principal’s office by the security this is what we heard from the principal but instead of making sure that the matter is resolved they parked the matter. And I think maybe she felt her matter was not handled and maybe let the family know, we only were informed by the kid herself and later from there we started seeing it on social media,” explains the victim’s brother.
Mavhunga says the family tried to console the teenager after the incident.
“On the said day when she came back, she reported the matter to the parents that she was beaten by a fellow learner, they tried to comfort her as much as they could, I think after that they took it for granted that their comfort worked it was only later that they realised that she has taken some of the medicine that is in the house that is when they called the ambulance and the ambulance came unfortunately when they arrived at the hospital she was no more,” he says.
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Mavhunga adds that they want the school’s disciplinary procedure to be instituted against the learner who assaulted Lufuno hours before she took her own life.
“If there is any criminality that has happened we would like to see South Africa justice prevailing. We haven’t done anything, we haven’t opened any case but like I mentioned yesterday to the school for sure they have a policy and guidelines and what happened for sure has bridged them so they know the consequences so they must apply those without any favour. If that happens, we will be satisfied but we haven’t taken any action in terms of what other course we must take.”
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Limpopo education to investigate circumstances that led to the suicide:
Social Development MEC, Nkakareng Rakgoale, says social workers will continue to support the family.
Limpopo police say the 15-year-old learner will face a case of assault in court soon, but members of the public will not be allowed to attend.
“The police in Thohoyandou a 15-year-old school girl from the Mbilwi Secondary School who later died on arrival at the Siloam Hospital in an apparent suicide an inquest docket has already been opened and police investigations are continuing, The arrested learner will be dealt with in line with the child justice act,” says the police.
The suspect is currently being incarcerated at a secure care centre.
SABC News Reporter Pimani Baloyi gives more insight into the bullying incident:
VhaVenda King, Toni Mphephu Ramabulana, has condemned the bullying of learners by others, describing the incident as one of the greatest disappointments they have experienced within a school environment.