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KZN educator abducted at school gate

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Durban - An acting principal who was abducted from her Verulam school on Friday, but later freed when she recognised the voice of one of her assailants, said on Sunday she would not be deterred from fulfilling her duties.

The abduction of Ntombikayise Ngcobo of Waterloo Primary has been linked to an alleged jobs-for-cash racket involving members of a teachers union.

But Ngcobo, who had been shortlisted for the school principal position, said she did not want to talk in detail about the incident.

“I need permission from the Department of Education before I can talk to you. They are my employer and they need to give me clearance,” she told the Daily News.

Ngcobo was about to open the gate to drive into the school at about 6.40am on Friday when she was accosted by three men in a white BMW.

Her car and belongings were left untouched but she was bundled into the BMW.

A resident who lives opposite the school, Thembinkosi Ngwenya, told the Daily News he heard a woman screaming and when he went to investigate, he saw Ngcobo being shoved into the car.

Fana Sibiya, the school’s governing body chairman, said Ngcobo was grabbed by the neck, pushed into the car and told to lie face down so that she did not see the culprits.

“While driving, the abductors told her to never return to the school. She then recognised the voice of one of the kidnappers who convinced the others to allow her to be set free unharmed.”

The incident follows reports in the media that members of a teachers union have been allegedly selling principal and deputy principal positions at KwaZulu-Natal schools for more than R30 000.

However, Sibiya said the governing body could neither confirm nor deny that the incident was related to the selling of posts, although it was likely.

The principal post has been vacant since June.

“After the interviews, the panel recommended Ngcobo to the department as the best candidate for the position. Later Sadtu (South African Democratic Teachers Union) objected to the recommendation, claiming that the interview process was not followed (properly) because they did not have a representation at the interviews,” Sibiya said.

He said the governing body would meet the teachers today to discuss the issue.

The incident had left staff and pupils traumatised and scared, he said, adding that the governing body would also discuss the issue of security with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education.

Sadtu’s provincial secretary, Mbuyiseni Mathonsi, said they would wait for the outcome of the police investigation into the matter before commenting.

“People can be abducted by their boyfriends and then blame it on the union. We have no interest in that particular position. We will see what the police find,” Mathonsi said.

Department spokesman, Muzi Mahlambi, said: “We are disturbed by the abduction, but cannot comment on it or on what the alleged motive is because this is a criminal matter which is being handled by the police. We can’t say that it has to do with Sadtu, that is something Sadtu needs to comment on.”

Mathonsi said the issue of security was not unique to Waterloo Primary, but was shared by most KZN schools.

When asked if she would return to work, Ngcobo said: “I will not be deterred from fulfilling my duties and I will return to school as soon as I am feeling better.

“Only my employer has the authority to tell me not to go back.” Ngcobo refused to comment further.

When the Daily News spoke to her husband, Brian Ngcobo, at the scene of the abduction on Friday, moments after discovering she had been found and was at the Phoenix police station, he had said: “We are just grateful that she is back and is alive.”

Police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, said a case of kidnapping was being investigated by Phoenix police and no arrests had been made.

Daily News


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