Criminals target Durban schools

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Armed robbers appear to be targeting teachers and pupils at schools in Lamontville outside Durban.

In the latest incident, teaching was interrupted yesterday morning at the Gijima Primary School when three gun-toting men robbed a teacher inside school premises at about 7.30am.

Police believe a group of gangsters is targeting schools in the area.

A similar incident took place at AJ Mwelase High School on Tuesday where a group of pupils was robbed of their cellphones by armed men who had entered the school premises.

Police spokesman, Mhlonishwa Khawula said the incidents were worrying, but police expected to be making arrests soon.

"It is clear that there's a group targeting schools, but I can assure teachers, parents and pupils that we will arrest the culprits.

"We were able to deal with such incidents before and we will do so again," he said.

During Tuesday's incident, the robbers entered the school and forced a 10-year-old pupil to take them to his teacher.

"I had just left my school bag in class when these three men called me. They pointed a gun at me and forced me to take them to the teachers," the shocked grade 4 pupil said.

He said when they reached one of the classrooms, the robbers told him to stay behind.

They found a woman teacher and demanded her cellphone and cash. After taking an undisclosed amount of cash, they left. A teacher, who asked not to be named, said this was the first robbery at their school.

"We do not feel safe anymore," said the teacher.

The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education's spokesman, Ntokozo Maphisa said they too were worried following similar incidents at schools in KwaMashu, Port Shepstone and Chesterville.