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Race to stop murders at schools

By unknown | Mar 30, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Mary Papayya

Mary Papayya

Police and education authorities are to meet in a crucial race against time to rid KwaZulu-Natal's schools of violence against teachers.

The province's education MEC said education was on its knees after heartless criminals killed five teachers in the past two weeks.

The heartbroken MEC, Ina Cronje, yesterday told Sowetan that unless we change "our values" and the "respect we have for human life" the senseless killings in the province's schools would not stop.

Now Cronje is pooling all her resources and mounting the biggest prayer rallies the province has ever seen in a bid to get every stakeholder to commit to peace in the classroom.

The rally will probably be held on the last Sunday of the school holidays on April 15.

She said religious leaders and all stakeholders will join hands in the fight for peace in school yards.

"Our message will be to tell society that our schools, our teachers and our children must be protected.

"We will commit to making our schools safe. When someone kills someone for no reason something is wrong and we have to do something about it - now. This is much bigger than education," Cronje said.

Meanwhile, a shocked KwaZulu-Natal safety and security MEC Bheki Cele speaking to Sowetan from London's Heathrow Airport said the killings should be condemned.

He said police were doing everything in their power to make the schools and communities in KwaZulu-Natal safe but "something was not right".

"Upon my return I will meet with the MEC of education in KwaZulu-Natal, Ina Cronje, and other stakeholders and revitalise our deployment of police officers in the field," he said.

Cele appealed to the community, especially parents, to come forward and help police weed out criminal elements. He said that the police could not be everywhere and the community's help would be greatly appreciated.

Yesterday a maths, science and physics teacher - one of the few in the region - was shot dead inside his classroom at Mathonsi Primary School in Sundumbili near Mandeni on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast.

In another incident yesterday afternoon, a 28-year-old female teacher was stabbed to death by a grade 8 pupil inside a classroom at Thornwood Primary School in Pinetown, near Durban

Less than a week ago two female teachers from Hlokohloko Primary School, near Empangeni, were murdered and their bodies dumped in an open field. Their school principal and two other people have been arrested for the murder.

A few days before that a female teacher was shot dead, allegedly by her husband, at a nearby school. Shortly afterwards the husband killed himself.


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