Violence at schools 'out of control'

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

An 18-year-old high school pupil is fighting for his life in hospital after being shot through the jaw by a classmate in the school's toilets.

This comes barely a week after gun violence claimed the lives of 32 students at the Virginia Tech in the US.

It also comes only a week after a prayer rally was held in KwaZulu-Natal for safety at schools following a spate of violent attacks in several schools in the province.

Manqoba Sibiya from Nsabekhuluma High School in Mahlabathini, near Ulundi, northern Zululand, was admitted to Ngwelezane Hospital, Empangeni, after being shot, allegedly accidentally, in the jaw with a 9mm pistol on Friday afternoon.

His classmate, also 18, has been arrested and is due to appear in court today.

Last month, a Mariannhill teacher, Nokulunga Ndaba, was stabbed to death by a pupil in the classroom at Thornwood High School.

A day later another teacher, Thulani Ntshangase, was gunned down by an unknown man in full view of his pupils.

The latest incident, which has left the province's education fraternity shocked, happened during school hours.

Police said the two pupils had asked their teacher if they could be excused to go to the toilet during a lesson.

While in the toilets, the suspect allegedly produced a firearm to show his friend.

"The pistol went off and the victim was hit in the face," police said.

School principal Joshua Mthembu described the incident as "traumatic" for other pupils.

He said the two were known "troublemakers" at school and had had to call them to his office on a number of occasions.

Superintendent Jay Naicker, police spokesman, said the police were investigating a case of attempted murder and illegal possession of an unlicensed firearm against the suspect.

Musa Gumede, National Teachers' Union spokesman, condemned the incident. He said it was a clear indication that schools had become war zones.