Sat Oct 22 09:05:32 SAST 2016

Teachers' murder verdict was 'fast'

By unknown | Dec 13, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has welcomed what it called the "speedy and tough" verdict handed down by the Pongola high court to the three accused in the double-murder of two Hlokohloko Primary School teachers.

Former principal Anton Mathenjwa, and his two hired hit men, Bhekani Gumede, 31, and Thulani Qwabe, 36, were sentenced to two life terms in jail respectively for the murder of Philile Mthenjana and Phindile Ntuli.

The teachers were abducted and shot execution-style in the bushes where their decomposed bodies were later discovered.

Mthenjana did not see eye-to-eye with Mathenjwa after she allegedly recruited all teachers to join the National Teachers Union (Natu) which is aligned to the IFP.

It is alleged that Mathenjwa, a South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) member, which is aligned to the ANC, was not pleased that Mthenjana was recruiting some Sadtu members to join Natu. At the time of their death Mthenjana was an HOD and Ntuli a deputy principal.

"We are most impressed with the verdict of life sentences for perpetrators involved in the double murder," said IFP provincial spokesman Blessed Gwala.

"We are also impressed with the speed of the judicial process in this case."

He said they were outraged at the time of the murders by the complacency of the police and the "reckless attitude" of the provincial Department of Education which "abdicated all responsibility in the tragedy".

"We were sad to note at the time that the local police approached the investigation with indifference and Natu had to resort to private investigators, which yielded the names of three culprits including the school's principal," he said.

Gwala accused the Department of Education of ignoring the tragedy and its impact in the school and community.

"They never reacted when the teachers were first reported missing, nor did any of its representatives attend the victims' funeral.

"It fell to the IFP to take up the discrepancies in the police investigation in parliament."

ANC provincial spokesman Senzo Mchunu said they were pleased with the conviction.

Mchunu rejected the allegations that the ANC was complacent over the actions of Mathenjwa and his accomplices.

"As an organisation we condemn all criminal activities," Mchunu said.


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