His death was followed the next day by that of advocate Madikela Makgaba, 39, principal of Kgwadu Primary School in Limpopo, and a day later by that of Suren Reddhi, 45, headmaster of Jacaranda Primary in Laudium, Pretoria.
The Sunday Times has confirmed that at least another six principals and a deputy principal have died of Covid complications this year. They are:
- Gregory Prince, Arcadia High (Port Elizabeth);
- Vanesh Gokal, Burnwood Secondary (Durban);
- Chris Zaayman, Maragon Mooikloof (Pretoria);
- Wayne Sparrow, Helderberg Primary (Western Cape);
- George Henry Parker, Generaal Beyers Primary (Pretoria); and
- TA Mhlophe, Panorama Primary, (Pietermaritzburg).
Raj Reddy, a deputy principal at Carter High in Pietermaritzburg, also died from Covid-related complications.
Beetar's son Matthew said his father, who taught at the school for 33 years, had devoted his life to serving Merchiston Primary. His father started off as superintendent at the hostel and head of sport.
"He absolutely hated bullying and made sure the school was the best possible place for everybody who entered there," Matthew said. "He touched thousands of lives. The city has lost one of its greatest social advocates."
Richard Bennet, one of the deputy principals at Merchiston Primary, described Beetar as a "visionary and an incredible leader".