Schoolboy killed for R500
The stabbing of a KwaZulu-Natal matriculant has brought school violence into the spotlight again, with the number of school killings for the year now at seven.
Mpendulo Mzulwini, 19, a pupil of Egagasini Secondary School, died at a hospital in Isipingo hours after he was stabbed twice for R500 he was to pay to attend his matric dance.
Two weeks ago, in Cape Town, Kasselsvlei High School Grade 11 pupil Allan Manuel, 17, was stabbed to death in an argument.
Five other pupils have been fatally stabbed in KwaZulu-Natal since the start of the year - at Mandlenkosi High School, Vryheid High School, Siyanda High School and Clairwood Secondary School.
Another KwaZulu-Natal pupil was wounded in a stabbing at Kwesethu High School.
The province's education MEC, Senzo Mchunu, said yesterday: "We have noted with grave concern the unfortunate incidents of stabbing in our schools recently. This is a result of the increase in the number of pupils who carry dangerous weapons into schools."
Gcina Mzulwini waited yesterday at the mortuary where a post mortem was to be conducted .
He said that though he did not blame the teachers for his son's death, he held the school responsible because it had an unguarded entrance to its grounds.
"Though the school is fenced and has a security guard, it's pointless when there is an entry point used by members of the community who have a garden inside. This means a security guard cannot be at the gate and monitor who enters on the other side. To me, this is reckless on the part of the school and I hold it responsible for what happened," he said.
According to pupils who saw the stabbing, a group of outsiders had an argument with Mpendulo a few weeks ago when he refused to hand his laptop computer to them. The same group arrived at the school on Friday and demanded R500 that was visible in Mpendulo's shirt pocket. When Mpendulo refused to hand it over, he was stabbed twice, it was alleged.
His killer has not been arrested.
Mpendulo's father said: "We are devastated. But it's even worse for his mother. She has been crying since the [murder] and it is taking its toll on her.
"He was such a lovely child and we were counting the months for him to finish his matric. Now he is dead. We'll never see him go to his matric dance."
The National Teachers' Union said yesterday that it had raised the subject of safety at schools with the provincial department of education.
"We indicated that schools have become war zones. Some schools have become centres for criminal activities.
"We have requested the department to do something about this.
"If teachers and pupils are not safe, how can laptops and data projectors be safe?"
The union had called for police patrols near schools, its spokesman, Allan Thompson, said. A call for the installation of metal detectors at schools has been ignored by the department.
Provincial education spokesman Sihle Mlotshwa said a circular had been sent to all schools advising the principals to liaise with their nearest police station.