Intimidation and harassment of learners must end

Statement by UNICEF South Africa

18 February 2023

PRETORIA, 18 February 2023 – UNICEF is shocked by a video circulating on social media that shows at least one man with a weapon and others in a school playground harassing and intimidating primary school learners.

Schools are no place for these men and must provide a safe, nurturing and protective environment for children.

Parents and caregivers put their trust in teaching personnel to oversee appropriate discipline when relevant and to ensure a quality and fun learning experience. In no case should outsiders, particularly those who are armed, enter school premises under the pretext of learner discipline.

UNICEF is aware that this video does not depict a recent event and has now come into the public domain. But it’s the latest case in a worrying rise of intimidation and harassment against learners, particularly foreign nationals.

The South African Constitution guarantees that everyone in the country has the right to a basic education. The Convention on the Rights of the Child notes that school discipline should be carried out in a manner consistent with the child’s human dignity. The Convention was the first international treaty signed and then ratified by the new South African Government in 1995.

Media contacts

Toby Fricker
Chief of Communication & Partnerships
UNICEF South Africa
Tel: +27 61 418 7486
Sudeshan Reddy
Communication Specialist
UNICEF South Africa
Tel: +27 82 561 3970


UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

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