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Maimane Calls for Education Minister’s Head Over “Disturbing Dagga Incident’ in Which 36 Pupils are Suspended at a Gauteng High School

Leondale Pupils Mass Cannabis Smoke-in Goes Viral

One South Africa Movement founder Mmusi Maimane has called on Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to resign over the “disturbing dagga incident” at Leondale High School in Gauteng.  Thirty six pupils were suspended on 22 April 2022 for their involvement in a mass cannabis smoke-in that was filmed and went viral on social media.

 

The former DA leader told Timeslive on 25 April 2022 that the behaviour of the pupils showed a lack of government leadership. 

 

Maimane tweeted: “Fire this minister of basic education immediately. How have we reached this level of behaviour in our schools?”

 

Timeslive reported that many social media users were critical that the Education Minister should take the fall. “Parents play a big role in the upbringing of their children — something we have neglected and is reflecting daily in society,” said one social media user.

“This has squarely a family and community issue parents don’t guide nor do they discipline and teach their kids,” added another.

 

In response, Maimane said safety and misbehaviour in schools was a long-standing concern that had been neglected for years. 

“The buck stops with the leader of the department. Let’s not act like lack of discipline in schools is new. Let’s not act like schools have not had stabbings, bullying and teacher abuse for years. This is an example of what happens across the system. It’s a systemic issue,” he said. 

 

Gatuteng Education MEC wants to lay criminal charges against the pupils

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi visited Leondale on 22 April 2022 and said pupils “captured on video smoking dagga within the school premises had been removed and suspended from the school”.

Addressing pupils, Lesufi said: “We want to know who is influencing our children in wrongdoing… Either you want to be a learner or you don’t want to be a learner. We can’t tolerate a situation in which learners smoke dagga [on] the school premises,” 

 

And in a move that has surprised some education officials, Lesufi added that a criminal case would be opened against the pupils after the disciplinary hearing. As one official who wanted to remain anonymous observed, the Minister of Justice told the Constitutional Court last month that children guilty of cannabis offences should not be subjected to the criminal justice system but rehabilitated instead.

This is the second major incident involving cannabis and schoolkids at a Gauteng High School in the last month. Earlier in April, 15 pupils were hospitalized after eating cannabis-infused “space cakes”.

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