Teacher goes to court for stabbing principal in front of pupils

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The expelled teacher arrested for stabbing a Soweto school principal more than 30 times had used a laptop bag to conceal a hammer and a knife he used during his five-minute onslaught at the school's parking lot on Monday.

This was revealed by Mphonyana Kabe, a female security guard at Paul Mosaka Primary School in Pimville.

Kabe, who started working at the school in June, said the ex-teacher had to be escorted out of the property in September after he had an altercation with principal Nothemba Lebepe at the gate.

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At the time, Kabe said, the ex-teacher had entered the school under false pretences. She said she did not know at the time that he had been banned from the school.

It is alleged that Lebepe, 52, and the ex-teacher, 42, had been in conflict for about 10 years, primarily about his fraudulent academic qualifications.

Provincial education department spokesman Oupa Bodibe yesterday confirmed that prior to the ex-teacher's expulsion in 2015 over his dodgy qualifications, he was once suspended for fighting with Lebepe and undermining her authority.

"He was rude. It happened over time. [An] investigation was launched by the district office and not by the principal.

"This was done because of [the] accumulation of misdemeanours. We were then forced to investigate his qualifications. That's when we found out that they were questionable," Bodibe said.

Lebepe's elder sister Kame Manjela yesterday said the principal was stabbed 32 times, mostly in the upper body, and was recuperating at Milpark Hospital's high-care unit.

Recalling Monday's incident, Kabe said she had began her 6am shift as normal before the ex-teacher arrived at about 7.10am.

"He came as learners were walking in. He had a black laptop bag and asked to see one of the teachers. I remembered him from the September incident, so I told him he cannot come in. He then pushed me to the side and walked to the office block," said Kabe.

She said he walked back towards the gate but turned towards the parking lot when he saw the principal's car parked there.

"I think she was still busy praying or playing music because that's her routine." The ex-teacher then took the hammer out of the bag and smashed Lebepe's car window.

"He pulled out a knife and started stabbing her. She moved to the passenger seat but he got hold of her and stabbed her some more."

She said she alerted the community, and the police arrested him on the scene. The suspect was scheduled to appear in the Lenasia Magistrate's Court today.

MEC Panyaza Lesufi visited the school and Lebepe in hospital yesterday. Exams have been suspended at the school and pupils are still undergoing counselling.

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