School windows' breaker succumbs to gunshot injury

A man replaces the windows at Mmametlhake Seconday School after Derrick Bopape smashed them with bricks.
A man replaces the windows at Mmametlhake Seconday School after Derrick Bopape smashed them with bricks.
Image: Thulani Mbele

A Mpumalanga man who was shot in the arm for breaking the windows of his former school and attacked police officers has died.

Derrick Bopape, 25, from Mmametlhake village in Mpumalanga, broke the windows at Mmametlhake Secondary School after demanding to see the principal two weeks ago.

His sister Yvonne Bopape told Sowetan on Thursday that the police broke the news of Derrick's death to the family.

“We don’t know what happened. Police told us that they don’t know what happened and that he had passed on. We haven’t seen his body yet because they said it was taken to a government mortuary,” said Yvonne.

A video that went viral on social media shows Bopape breaking windows at the school with bricks before turning his attack on the police who had arrived at the scene. The Independent Police Investigative Directorate’s Moses Dlamini was not immediately available for comment on Thursday.

Yvonne told Sowetan more than a week ago that she had noticed strange changes in her brother’s demeanour, including wearing a jacket and a tracksuit top despite the boiling heat in the area. Before going on the rampage, Bopape had approached grade 10 pupil Phumelelo Masha and demanded that he hands over to him his school bag.

Masha, 20, said Bopape was near a flight of stairs inside school premises. "He just said 'give me that bag, n***a'," Masha said. When Masha asked him why he wanted his bag, Bopape reportedly responded angrily: "I said give me that f***ing bag."

Masha took off and hid. While searching for Masha, Bopape demanded to see the principal. Other pupils started mocking and booing him and teachers locked the doors of the administration block.

Bopape then went on the rampage, hurling bricks at windows before attacking a police van that had arrived to intervene.

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