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Xenophobic attack by classmates leaves Congolese pupil hospitalised for 2 weeks

The family has accused the school of not showing any concern for the pupil

Donette Ngonefi a Congolese Grade 10 learner at Salt River High School was beaten so severely in a xenophobic attack by classmates and she remains in hospital two weeks later.

Donette suffered multiple injuries, including abdominal injuries after allegedly being assaulted by 5 other learners.

Donette was initially admitted to Groote Schuur Hospital, then over the weekend she started complaining that she wasn’t feeling well, and was to the Karl Bremer Hospital.

Her mother, Nsemuila Ngonefi, is heartbroken over her daughter’s ordeal, and has accused the school of showing no compassion towards her daughter.

“If this was a South African child they wouldn’t have done something like this, but because she is Congolese they did this to her,” she said.

“The school has not contacted us at all, and we have not heard from the principal. Every time we call the school we are told she’s sick. They are continuing as if  nothing happened,” Nsemuila said.

The family has received support from the Congolese civil society in South Africa, and are planning to take the school and the learners to court.

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Western Cape Education Department (WCED) spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said the disciplinary hearing has yet to be scheduled, as the exams and the investigation have delayed the process.

“The deputy principal has scheduled meetings with the respective learners and their parents in the interim to establish a platform where civil discussions can be had to plan a way forward collaboratively, as well as obtain evidence.

“A meeting was held on September 4, with five of the learners who were allegedly responsible, and their parents. Statements were given by the learners. On September 5, a meeting with some of the victim’s friends was arranged but none of the learners attended.

More: IOL

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