The Department of Basic Education has vowed to take "the strongest action possible" against a male learner who was caught on video "violently assaulting" a female learner at a KwaZulu-Natal school.
"The video, clearly filmed on a school premises believed to be in KwaZulu-Natal, depicts a male learner violently assaulting a female learner. The department will ensure that the strongest action possible is taken against the offending learner," spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said in a statement on Thursday.
The department also promised to arrange medical examination and any other support that the female learner would need, as soon as they identified her.
The video, which was posted on Twitter by @Tumisole on Sunday shows the young female learner being kicked and hit by a male learner wearing a blue and white school uniform, in what looks like the school corridors.
"#CountryDuty. We've been alerted to this?? @Nkanyiso_ngqulu will report tomorrow. School known" he tweeted, explaining that a member of the Economic Freedom Fighter’s (EFF) student command would report the video on Thursday.
According to Sole, the video was taken at a school in KwaZulu-Natal.
The Department of Education in KwaZulu-Natal has since urged members of the public to stop circulating "this terrible video" – which sent shockwaves through social media – to protect the female learner.
"In addition, the department is prepared to work with the bully to find alternative ways of behaving," Education MEC Mthandeni Dlungwana’s spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa told News24.
Mthethwa said the department was working very hard to eliminate bullying at schools.
"We expect all our schools to have an anti-bullying policy that seeks to protect all children. It is very important that learners know that all forms of bullying are totally unacceptable within the school."
He said bullying behaviour could sometimes be seen as a sign that the individual doing the bullying was experiencing problems at home.
"We therefore call upon teachers, parents, SGB and the society at large to report such incidents to our authorities as and when it occurs," he said.
Mthethwa explained that they labelled the incident as bullying because "bullying can be in a form of words, physical and otherwise".
"We put it under one umbrella and call it bullying," he explained.
Meanwhile, several Twitter users have taken to social media to express their disgust.
@ceendz_msu2 said the video ruined their day. "I literally cried when I saw this... How do we continue like this mara? Our sisters are not safe at school!"
While @SimonPGrindrod said: "The young lady was bleeding. The girls and women of SA should be safe. Who stands and films this for fun? Horrifying."