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Johannesburg - Tired of being bullied, an 18-year-old pupil allegedly took his mother’s gun, brought it to school and shot dead his tormenter in the classroom.
The Grade 11 pupil has been arrested and charged with murder.
Police sent a SWAT unit to the school in Vosloorus, Ekurhuleni, to arrest the youth.
Gauteng Education Department spokesman Charles Phahlane said the 18-year-old, from Phineas Xulu Secondary School, brought his mother’s firearm to school on Tuesday morning and shot a pupil who he accused of bullying him.
“The Grade 11 learner is alleged to have been bullied repeatedly by a Grade 10 learner and two other boys, who on Tuesday afternoon [Monday] allegedly took his cap and cellphone,” said Phahlane.
The boy apparently shot dead the Grade 10 pupil – also 18 – when confronted by him in class on Tuesday.
Phahlane said the pupil’s mother was a metro police officer and the boy had used her official firearm to kill his fellow pupil.
The Ekurhuleni metro police department, meanwhile, said the officer belonged to the SAPS, while Gauteng SAPS spokeswoman Captain Pinky Tsinyane said she did not know about the mother or what kind of gun was used, but that investigations were under way.
She said the youth, who was arrested on the scene, would appear in the Vosloorus Magistrate’s Court soon on charges of murder and possession of an unlicensed gun.
The names of the alleged shooter and his alleged bully have not been released.
An unnamed school official, who answered the principal’s phone on Tuesday, said: “There will be no comment from the school.”
The department arranged for counsellors and representatives from faith-based groups to come to the school.
Phahlane said Education MEC Barbara Creecy and Community Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko would meet to discuss ways to curb schoolchildren’s access to firearms.
In a recent study by Unisa’s Bureau of Market Research among about 3 300 pupils in 24 high schools across Gauteng, 34 percent said they had been bullied in the past two years.
The department addressed the problem of bullying at a colloquium in August after a series of incidents, including the following:
* Earlier this year, 16-year-old David Hlongwane hanged himself with an electric cord in his Soshanguve home. It was alleged he committed suicide after he was bullied at Lethabong High School by four older boys.
* The scourge of cyber-bullying came to the fore when a 15-year-old Krugersdorp High pupil was attacked by a schoolfriend with a glass bottle after a series of online attacks by another girl and her friends.
“Bullying is increasingly widespread, especially from a cyber-bullying point of view – it’s just rocketing,” said Izabella Gates, managing director of youth issues NGO Life Talk.
– Additional reporting by Louise Flanagan