Maverick Citizen


Family of Cradock five-year-old locked in classroom for three icy days want answers

Family of Cradock five-year-old locked in classroom for three icy days want answers
Five-year-old Masonwabe Mapolisa was locked in a Cradock classroom for three icy days. He was taken to hospital in a critical condition after he was found. (Photo: Supplied)

The principal of the school where Masonwabe Mapolisa was locked in a classroom for three days and two nights has refused to tell the boy’s family exactly what happened.

The family of the five-year-old boy who was locked inside a classroom for three days during freezing weather is threatening legal action against the school, JA Ncaca Primary School in Cradock.

The boy’s great-aunt Mandlakazi Nothwala (67) said the principal had refused to tell them who locked the child in the classroom, and that they would take action against the school.

“Even during the meeting today, the principal refused to tell us what exactly happened, saying that it is part of an ongoing investigation conducted by police and the Department of Education,”  Nothwala said.

The boy, Masonwabe Mapolisa, was discharged from Port Elizabeth’s Dora Nginza Hospital on Thursday and transferred to Cradock Hospital.

Nothwala said they wanted to know exactly what happened to the child.

“The Department of Education promised to provide us as the family with psychosocial support and sending social workers before Masonwabe came home. They promised to help the learners as well,” Nothwala said. 

There were reports that the community had planned to shut down the school, but decided against it after a meeting department officials.

Masonwabe disappeared on Friday afternoon and a missing person’s report was opened with the police after he did not return from school. The community looked for him all through the weekend — one of the coldest of the year — but to no avail. He was found on Monday morning when the classroom where he attended school was reopened. The classroom is about 4km from the main school complex.

He has not yet been able to relate what happened to him.

Malibongwe Mtima, the spokesperson for the provincial education department, said: “All I can tell you is that the child is back in Cradock. There was a meeting today between the school management team, the school governing body and the directorate to get some information on the matter.”

Mtima confirmed that social workers would be sent to counsel the family and Masonwabe. He said a team from the department and the police were investigating the incident. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Susan Buekes says:

    And no one thought to go back to basics and look in the classroom?? Who was the last to leave the room and lock the door, and where was the key kept?

  • Anne Swart says:

    This news is disturbing on so many levels. Globally, in a civilised society, where mistreatment and trauma is visited upon a child, a special unit would act with urgency, and interrogations would yield at least new leads or hopefully answers .

    Here, it seems everyone in a position of authority, from President Ramaphosa to a school principal, announces “an investigation will be started”.

    For goodness sake! This is a child, that was reported missing. No-one acted? The police did what? So many stories of brutal acts against children in our country. Did the police do anything? The principal won’t give answers?

    Persons in positions of authority in this country have no shame. Our country is numbed, we are beyond shocked and are silent in our disbelief.

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