Durban - Three senior KwaZulu-Natal education officials have been arrested for the murder of a principal in a case in which it is alleged that school funds were used for the hit.
The three men, who handed themselves to police on Monday, were due to appear at Umlazi Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
The three, aged between 39 and 56, are a district director, a teacher and a school principal.
This comes after the shooting of Nkosinathi Zondi by two men at his Umlazi home last May.
Four people had already been arrested last year in connection with the murder of Zondi, a principal at Nyonemhlophe High School on the KZN south coast.
Ndolile Shezi, Andile Zulu, Mbuso Makhoba and Sandile Mzizi would be joined at their trial by the three arrested on Monday.
Mzizi, accused of organising the hit, was a school governing body chairman at Khathi High School near Hibberdene.
It was alleged that school governing body funds were used to carry out the murder.
KZN SAPS spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, confirmed the three had been arrested and charged with murder.
The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) claimed that another suspect, also a school principal, was still at large. However, Zwane could not confirm this.
Sadtu in KZN said in a statement on Monday that it was “perturbed by these developments” that allegedly involved senior education department staff in “such a heinous crime”.
Sadtu provincial secretary, Mbuyiseni Mathonsi, said they would write to the MEC, Peggy Nkonyeni, and head of department, Nkosinathi Sishi, and demand the immediate suspension of “all those officials and educators involved in this crime”.
“Especially because we are reliably informed that even monies of state have been used to carry out this murder,” Mathons said.
Mathonsi said they believed Zondi’s killing was as a result of his involvement in exposing corrupt education officials in one of the department’s South Coast districts.
“It came to a point where we had to mediate between him (Zondi) and (one of the suspects) when he was exposing them (for) acting outside education policies and laws,” Mathonsi claimed.
“In those matters, they had threatened him,” he said.
Mathonsi said Zondi was killed shortly after that meeting.
Mathonsi said Zondi was a Sadtu district chairman and said he had found evidence that some officials in the district were corrupt.
“We have given a lot of those things to the KZN Department of Education to do an investigation from 2011 and they didn’t do anything and no steps were taken up to date,” Mathonsi said.
KZN Department of Education spokesman, Muzi Mahlambi, said he could not say whether the suspects would be suspended, pending a top management meeting to discuss the matter.
“We have been following the matter through the media and we have noted the latest arrests. What will happen, the top management of the department will sit next week Monday and it will be among matters that will be discussed. For now that’s all we can say and we will comment further after that sitting,” Mahlambi said.
He declined to comment on Sadtu’s claim that the department had failed to take action after being alerted to alleged corruption in the district.