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Unions demand suspension of 'killer' principal

By unknown | Oct 17, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

It is business as usual for a KwaZulu-Natal school principal who allegedly hired a hitman to kill his deputy.

Nqabeni Mbatha, a principal at Siphimfundo High School in Uitvaal near Dundee, was arrested in 2006 in connection with the killing of his 47-year-old deputy, Sabelo Mkhize.

Three weeks ago he was released on R5000 bail, and has since returned to school.

Early this month the hitman allegedly hired by Mbatha confessed and was sent to jail for 30 years.

Teacher unions have demanded that the provincial department of education suspend Mbatha immediately.

The National Teachers Union (Natu) spokesman Musa Gumede yesterday accused the department of negligence.

He said the principal should have been suspended on the day that he was arrested, pending the outcome of the trial.

"The court case has not been concluded and the suspect has returned to work. This is unacceptable and poses a risk to other teachers at the school," said Gumede.

He said although the motive for Mkhize's killing has not been established, there is evidence that links Mbatha to the killing.

Gumede said the "problem of teachers killing each other was very common at schools".

Last year the principal of Hlokohloko Primary School in Hluhluwe was jailed for life for the killing of two of his female teachers.

The South African Democratic Teachers union's (Sadtu) Sipho Nkosi said teachers are professionals and not murderers and that if there is a suspected murderer on school premises, then learning would be disrupted.

He said it was even worse that Mbatha allegedly used school funds to pay the hitman. Igagasi FM news yesterday reported that he allegedly wrote out a cheque for R20000 from the school funds.

Mkhize was shot and killed at his home in December 2006.


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