WHILE police swooped on four suspects linked to the slaying of Nongoma teacher Busisiwe Simelane, pupils and teachers at the Nhlanhlayethu High School were in mourning.
They described her death as a "huge loss".
Simelane taught business studies and English for Grades 8, 9 and 10. She was shot and killed in one of three three separate attacks on homes on Tuesday morning.
School principal Siyathokoza Zulu said they were all shocked at the brutality.
"Despite the fact that she was near retirement and was sick and had had spinal surgery, she was a true professional," Zulu said.
"We are really shocked by the way she was killed."
Zulu described Simelane, 59, as "a kind teacher loved by all in the school and the community".
"She liked her work and was very disciplined and dedicated," he said. "We have lost a perfect teacher and mother figure.
"To rub salt in the wound her death came while we were busy with the exams and this will affect the pupils and teachers a lot."
Classes at the school were cancelled owing to the brutal killing.
The police on Wednesday arrested four people, one of them a Grade 11 pupil.
Simelane was killed when gunmen robbed three homes and demanded cash and cellphones.
A local businessman was also shot and injured in the attacks.
KwaZulu-Natal MEC for transport, community safety and liaison Bheki Cele applauded police on their swiftness in apprehending the four suspects.