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A 17-year-old Grade 8 pupil was stabbed to death, allegedly by fellow pupils, at New Eisleben High school in Lower Crossroads on Thursday, shortly after morning assembly.
Anele Mhawuli died at the Nyanga Day Hospital after he was stabbed multiple times.
Police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk said a murder case had been opened and no arrests had been made. Police said three pupils had been identified as suspects.
The Department of Education said reports indicated that the incident was gang-related.
“This is a senseless and tragic loss of life and our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family during this difficult time,” said the department’s spokeswoman Bronagh Casey.
“The school does have 24-hour security, but it is not yet clear how the weapon was brought into the school. The WCED Safe Schools directorate is currently assessing the security measures at the school,” said Casey.
It is alleged that the incident occurred minutes after assembly was adjourned as the pupils were about to head to class for their first period.
“Three boys headed towards Anele and his friend, and they started talking. The boys then slapped Anele and he then took out a knife, they kicked him and he fell and that’s when they started stabbing him repeatedly,” said a pupil who saw the stabbing.
According to pupils, Anele had been in a fight the day before with the same group of pupils. The fight was because Anele and the perpetrators belonged to rival gangs, the Vuras and the Vatos, the pupils said.
Anele’s sister, Nosiseko, 32, said her brother had been in her care since 2009 and their parents were in the Eastern Cape.
“I got a call and was told to come to the school because my brother had been hurt. When I got there I was told he was at the day hospital. I wasn’t allowed to see him at the hospital because the doctors were busy with him. Minutes later I was told he was dead,” she said.
Nosiseko described her brother as a good boy who dreamt of being a pilot and loved “spaza” rap, a local form of underground hip hop music.
“Even if they arrest the perpetrators, what good will it be because my brother is no longer living and they are still alive?” she said.
Education MEC Donald Grant visited the family on Thursday and counselling was provided for pupils who had been traumatised by the incident.
Earlier this year, at least three pupils were stabbed and one was shot at school.
Ned Doman pupil Uviwe Mzingelwa, 18, was stabbed to death in March on a bus after an altercation with a fellow pupil.
In the same month, a Grade 9 pupil at Oscar Mpetha High School, in Khayelitsha, was stabbed after a playground fight.
Four pupils were apprehended for the incident.
In May, 17-year-old Enrico Martin was shot in the head and later died at Groote Schuur hospital. Martin was approached by gunmen as he was entering the school premises. The incident was allegedly gang-related.
Last month, a 16-year-old Northpine Technical High School pupil was taken to hospital after being stabbed at school. A 17-year-old was arrested and released into his parents’ custody.