Mpumalanga police are investigating a case of assault after a pupil at Mathews Phosa College was allegedly scalded with boiling water by a fellow pupil.
Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brig Selvy Mohlala confirmed a case of assault was opened at the Ngodwana police station on Wednesday.
“Detectives will be visiting the school to continue with their investigations and they will speak to the victim and alleged suspect,” said Mohlala.
Relating the pupil’s ordeal, the pupil’s mother said she received a frantic call in the early hours of the morning from her son, telling her that his skin was peeling off after a fellow pupil allegedly shoved a kettle of boiling water he was carrying.
The 39-year-old woman, who did not want to be named, said the incident happened on the morning of November 3 at the boarding section in Schoemanskloof, east of Nelspruit, Mpumalanga.
“Just before 7am that morning, my son had just boiled water to prepare his flu relieving mixture. He was going to use the water to drink with Med-Lemon and ginger so that he could treat his flu,” said the woman.
She said after boiling the water from the hostel dining hall, her son walked to his room with the kettle of boiled water in his hands, and while in the passage, another pupil blocked his way with his open hands and told him to throw out the water.
“My son asked him why he should do that and the other pupil said because ‘I say so’. My son refused and continued walking to his room. The other pupil then hit the kettle and the boiled splashed on my son’s body,” said the woman.
“He called me and he was crying uncontrollably on the phone and could not breathe.”
She said another pupil picked up her son’s cellphone and told her that her son was splashed with hot water on his body by another pupil.
“The pupil said my son had an asthmatic attack and was being stabilised by the hostel master and other hostel staff. The hostel master called me and told me they were trying to stabilise my son before they could take him to Nelspruit Medi-Clinic about 45 minutes later,” she said.
The woman said when her son, who has asthma, arrived at the hospital, he was treated and released from hospital on the same day.
In pictures showing the burn scars that her son sustained after the incident, which Sunday World has seen, a portion of the skin on his nose, mouth and chest was peeled off.
The mother has blasted the school for dragging its feet in dealing with the incident. She said on Tuesday, November 7 she was informed by a teacher investigating the incident that a disciplinary hearing was held against the alleged perpetrator and a recommendation was
given to the school managing director to expel the pupil who allegedly shoved the kettle.
However, she said when she called the managing director, she was informed that no disciplinary hearing had taken place and that investigations into the incident were still ongoing.
The woman said she wanted justice for her son and had opened a case with police.
The school’s managing director Patcy Struwig said the school was investigating the incident but said it was an “accident”. She said the family of the other pupil has agreed to organise counselling for the injured pupil.
The other pupil is 18-years-old as well.