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Private school attack

By unknown | Jun 19, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Thembela Khamango

Thembela Khamango

Striking teachers belonging to the South African Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) yesterday beat up a colleague and trashed classrooms and cars as other teachers cowered in fear in lavatories.

Hundreds of angry teachers marched from Elkah Stadium in Soweto to the private St Matthews Secondary School to stop non-striking colleagues from working.

The mob threatened to stone the Sowetan team that was following them.

They went to the school where they kidnapped the principal and severely beat up a secretary.

"They cut the fence down and came straight to the classes and the offices. They found me in an offices and called me igundwane, scab, and asked why I was working when they were not," said a 27-year-old employee who cannot be named for her own safety.

"Before I could say anything they assaulted me until I fell down on the floor. They then dragged me outside," she said.

While the assault continued, another band of strikers trashed the school, breaking windows and kicking doors open.

The marauders also trashed two cars belonging to teachers. The mob then left, but not before stealing a cellphone and money.

Reporters who had earlier been threatened approached the school as the protesters were leaving. Four terrified teachers who had been hiding took the opportunity to run away.

But the marauders saw them, rushed back and bayed for blood. The petrified teachers jumped into our vehicle and escaped as stones were hurled at us.

"I think what they did is very wrong because we are a private school. We can't join them on the strike. They are dangerous. They came armed with knives, axes, and sticks," a teacher said.

Our team dropped the teachers at Moroka police station. They were reluctant to open a case because they believed the police would not help them.

Captain Lindiwe Mbatha said officers reported to her that nobody was injured at the school.

"Sadtu members went to the school and took the principal, who they said they were taking to their meeting.

"She was later released. We did not receive any complaint of violence," Mbatha said.


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