Friday, June 16

Mahlatse Ramatseba

Schoolboy 'set himself on fire' - Department denies 'jealous' pupils hurt him

Schoolboy 'set himself on fire' - Department denies 'jealous' pupils hurt him

The Western Cape education department has refuted allegations that a pupil at one of the province's schools was burnt by jealous pupils. Department spokesman Paddy Attwell said Qaphela Gobodo had set himself alight.A few weeks ago, Gobodo took to social media. In one of his series of posts addressed to his school, Bergrivier High School in Wellington, Gobodo wrote: "Do you remember 13 September 2016 . The day when I was followed by four boys coming from restroom? Confused, scared, etc . one was holding a golf-stick, next thing it hit me and i was on the ground, feeling helpless...

"I was only 15 years and again on that day you failed me.
"I could feel beating break a bone. I was set on fire in your presents ... i didn't need you that day. All I needed was water., as my body was burning. Your uniform was burned. My legs, stomach, everywhere i don't knw how i was able to run from tap to tap without your help and was able to save my life though." (sic)
Gobodo's alleged ordeal went viral on Facebook and Twitter, with one user commenting that the "boy was brave and justice should be served".
Attwell said: "We investigated the matter and evidence shows that he burnt himself. It is tragic because he spent months recovering. he has not been back to school.
"The learners and staff who witnessed the incident were traumatised and counselling was offered to them." Asked if psychological help was offered to Gobodo, he said: "Help is available for the boy and he can approach us." Gobodo's family did not want to comment yesterday.
But Gobodo, in his posts, said he believed he was attacked because of a rugby scholarship in Pretoria. He continued to say that not being able to play rugby made him "sad and angry".

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