Relatives of a KwaZulu-Natal teacher accused of killing a pupil and her mother yesterday claimed he had paid lobola for her.
The accused, Maqhawe Blessing Nkosi, 37, was an economics teacher at Ndukende Secondary School in KwaMaphumulo, on the north coast.
According to the charge sheet, Nkosi shot dead Khethiwe Xulu, 18, and her mother Makhosi Brightness Mkhize, 36, in July this year at their homestead in KwaSobho village. It is alleged the teacher was in a relationship with the Grade 11 pupil and had a three-year-old child with her.
Nkosi made a brief appearance in KwaDukuza Magistrate's Court yesterday, but the trial was adjourned to the first week of September .
Nkosi's aunt Tholakele, who was in court to support him, told Sowetan that: "My nephew was dating the deceased and had paid half of the lobola. This tells you that he had good intentions. I don't believe that he killed her because he had planned to marry her when she completed her matric."
The teacher's other aunt, Ntombifuthi Phakathi, said: "The whole community knows that Maqhawe was of great help to the deceased and her family. Their relationship was public knowledge, even the principal and teachers where he was teaching can attest to this."
The alleged killing was triggered when the accused suspected that the pupil was cheating on him with another pupil. On July 7, the angry teacher allegedly went to the pupil's home "to teach her a lesson". Her mother allegedly refused him entry into the house, an altercation ensued and the mother was shot several times. The accused then proceeded into the house and fired shots at the teenager.
School governing body chairman Mfanuzile Khumalo said: "It is common knowledge that teachers are dating learners. Whenever we complain, we're told that if the teachers go nobody would teach because teachers refuse to teach in rural areas."