A 14 year-old limpopo pupil, who was arrested in connection with assault of Lufuno Mavhunga, a fellow learner at Mbilwi secondary school, is expected to make her second appearance in the Thohoyandou Children’s Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, 20 April 20, 2021.

The teenage girl made her first appearance in the dock on Friday after being arrested for attacking Mavhungu.

Video of the assault went viral on social media and is believed to have resulted in Mavhunga taking her own life.

The incident has prompted calls for tougher measures to address bullying in South African schools.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has said the proceedings will be held behind closed doors, as the accused is a minor.

“An inquest docket has been opened and police investigations are continuing. The arrested child will be dealt with according to the Child Justice Act prescripts,” NPA spokesperson Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi said.

Lufuno Mavhunga was failed by her school and government

In response to Lufuno Mavhunga’s death, many have pointed fingers at her own school. This is particularly because her brother had alerted the principal about his sister’s assault, however nothing was done.

Speaking at Mavhunga’s funeral service on Saturday, Deputy Minister in the Presidency Thembi Siweya said more should have been done to protect her.

“As government we can do so much, we can put child protection acts, we can put all policies in place. We have failed her, all of us. We have failed Lufuno,” she said.

Given the fact that the accused is a minor, there are all kinds of questions as to how the matter will unfold. According to Zita Hansungule from the Centre for Child Law, all minors who face criminal charges, go through an inquiry before a decision on whether to go ahead with the prosecution is made.

“When a child gets arrested and makes their first appearance in a Magistrate’s Court, we call that a preliminary inquiry where now the court is not even hearing anything on the case, but just deciding what happens to the child while a decision is made about whether to go forward with the criminal matter or not,” Hansungule said to SABC News.

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Presh JM Reporter

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