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Trial date set for principal accused of lowering pupil into pit latrine

Luthuthu Senior Secondary School principal Lubeko Lennox Mgandela.

Luthuthu Senior Secondary School principal Lubeko Lennox Mgandela.

The trial of an Eastern Cape principal arrested for allegedly lowering a child into a pit latrine to retrieve his cellphone will start on 21 June. 

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) confirmed the trial date on Thursday. 

Lubeko Mgandela, 49, who was the principal of Luthuthu Junior Secondary School in Tsolo, faces a charge of child abuse. 

He made a brief appearance in the Tsolo Magistrate’s Court on Thursday. 

Mgandela allegedly used a rope to lower an 11-year-old pupil into a pit latrine on 1 March to recover his cellphone. 

He had accidentally dropped it into the staff latrine while relieving himself. 

READ | Eastern Cape principal charged after ‘forcing pupil into pit toilet to search for cell phone’

Eastern Cape police arrested him in Ugie on 15 March for attempted murder.However, the charge was later changed to child abuse, said NPA spokesperson Luxolo Tyali.

News of the incident led to an uproar across the country, with Tsolo residents calling for Mgandela to be arrested and fired from his post.

The Eastern Cape education department has since placed him on precautionary suspension and launched an investigation.

The SA Council for Educators also launched a probe after receiving calls to revoke Mgandela’s teaching certificate. 

The child was reportedly covered in faeces and the incident had made him ashamed to attend classes because he reportedly became the laughing stock of the school.

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