A PUPIL at Masuku Primary School in Tshabalala had to be treated for an infection after she was forced to clean up faeces on a toilet floor with her bare hands by a janitor who accused her of messing up the toilet.
According to the mother of the 10-year-old pupil, her daughter was forced to clean up mounds of faeces that were not hers.
However, although the cleaner, Ms Olivia Ncube (48), admitted to having forced the child to clean up the faeces, she denied that she made the pupil use her bare hands.
"This is a lie! I am not capable of doing such a thing. The child is just exaggerating to the mother and the school. I do agree that I made her clean the toilet though," said Ms Ncube.
She alleges that she went into the toilets which are meant for Grades Zero to Three where she found a dirty toilet seat and quickly called the child who she says was the last person seen using that toilet.
"I followed her to her class and told the class teacher that she had messed up the toilet and the teacher instructed me to get a bucket and a brush and make her clean it, which I did and she went back to her class. The mess was on the toilet seat and inside but not on the floor as they are alleging," said Ms Ncube.
The cleaner said she was shocked to be summoned by the school authorities who had a different version of what happened. The school's deputy headmaster, who only identified himself as Mr Mutero, denied any knowledge of the issue.
The heavily pregnant mother, who is employed at a local hospital, related her daughter's ordeal.
"On Friday, 25 July, I got home from work and found my daughter crying and I questioned her and she said MaNcube had made her clean faeces using her bare hands in the toilet. What is worse is that the mess was not hers," she said.
She said she then went to the school and was told the school head had gone away for the weekend and she took a day off at work on the following Monday to go to the school to find out what happened.
She said her daughter explained that she used the juniors' toilet as the seniors' toilet was being cleaned. In the toilet, she found two other girls.
"She said she was then followed to the classroom by the cleaner who accused her of having messed the toilet and the class teacher told the cleaner to go and talk to the child outside of which they did. After that the cleaner then told her to clean up the mess with her bare hands," she said.
While in the toilet, the mother alleges, a pupil who was inside offered the pupil tissue paper to use and the cleaner threatened to pour cold water on her if she gave her the tissue.
The girl is alleged to have cleaned with her hands and went back to class but kept smelling of faeces throughout the day.
Her mother said she was no longer able to eat using her hands and uses a spoon because she said she felt her hands were dirty. The concerned mother sought medical assistance when her child developed a rash on the face and body and the school head said they would reimburse her the medical expenses.
"I used $35 to visit a doctor and the school said they would reimburse me but up to now they have not done that. The school head said he had the money at one point then when I went he said he used the cash so I am just waiting to hear from them," she said.
She said what pained her most was that the cleaner made her daughter clean someone else's waste using bare hands.