NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga speaking to Hlumani High School pupils in KwaNomgxeki, Komga, on Friday. Pictures: Sithandiwe Velaphi
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has urged pupils at an Eastern Cape school to stay away from crime, pornography and underage sexual activities.
NPA national spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga addressed pupils of Hlumani High School in KwaNomgxeki township in Komga following an escalation of ill discipline and criminal activities by pupils at the school outside East London.
The NPA was invited by principal Thiso Martin to the school which has been beset with troubles since February 2009 after a stabbing incident involving students.
Martin said in August 2009, pupils burnt a school block over a dispute about school funds. He said the pupils wanted to know why they did not attend sports matches even though "they did not pay any cent since the school is a no fee".
Martin said three pupils were then arrested for arson and were now serving five-year jail sentences. "We then held a number of awareness programmes because we felt it is not the right for pupils to be jailed," he said.
He was also unhappy at the school's 60% matric pass rate last year.
Mhaga, who visited the school on Friday, discouraged pupils from becoming involved in underage sexual activity because it was a criminal offence.
"The problem with it is that you have been exposed to a lot of things like the internet, cellphones and social networks.
There is no problem in being exposed but the problem starts when you are using them in the wrong way," Mhaga told the attentive pupils.
He said: "You are supposed to switch your cellphone off when you are in the class, but you do not. Why are you having naked bodies on social networks?" asked Mhaga.
Mhaga warned that pupils who dabbled in criminal behaviour had a bleak future.
"You do want to be Connie Fergusson, actress, Teko Modise, soccer player, Terrence Nombembe, auditor-general, and others. But how are you going to be an important person if you have a criminal record."
One Grade 11 pupil, Anathi James, asked Mhaga: "What can I do if I see someone underage, under 16, pregnant? Can someone under 12 be on contraceptives?"
Mhaga gave James R10 "for asking important questions", before responding that there was nothing he could do.
"She will be questioned by the nurses during the birth of the child and if they find she has been impregnated by an adult, the father of the child will be arrested. If they are both underage, they will both be arrested," Mhaga said.