Johannesburg - Relieved. At peace. Free. These are some of the feelings expressed by pupils at Phineas Xulu Secondary School after the fatal shooting of
Nkululeko Ndlovu by another pupil on Tuesday.
Early on Tuesday a Grade 11 pupil, 18, apparently tired of being bullied, took his mother’s gun to school and shot dead his tormenter in the classroom. He has been arrested and charged with murder.
The pupils, who could not be named, told The Star they were neither saddened nor bothered by Nkululeko’s death, as they, too, had been victims of his bullying.
“We never [wanted] to go to the toilets because were were scared of him. One day I was at the toilet and he came in, grabbed me by my private parts and took my money. His friends were just standing there, laughing,” a Grade 8 boy, 14, said.
Others said Nkululeko often took their caps, memory cards and money. They did not fight back because they were scared of him, saying he and his friends used to smoke dagga at the toilets.
A Grade 10 girl said that if the school had taken action against Nkululeko and his friends a long time ago, this would have not happened.
A boy agreed: “He and his friends would not attend classes, but nothing happened. They knew what was going on and had they done something about it, this would have not happened.
Charles Phahlane, spokesman for the provincial Education Department, said the school was aware that Nkululeko had had behavioural problems, and they had been working with his grandmother to address them.
Phahlane denied that they could have prevented the incident.
“We were intervening, the school and the grandmother were addressing the issue,” he said.
Phahlane said the pupil’s mother was a metro police officer and the boy had used her official firearm to kill the Grade 10 boy.
The Ekurhuleni metro police , 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 teenager, 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.
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 at 24 Gauteng high schools, 34 percent said they had been bullied in the past two years.
– Additional reporting by Louise Flanagan