File picture: Independent Media
Durban – Residents of uMlazi fear criminals are turning schools into murder zones.

Two murders over the Easter school holidays, allegedly committed by two gangs, have left residents outraged and fearful.

They are worried about the lack of security at government schools which have no secure fencing or gates.

People found a body at F section uMlazi more than a week ago.

Phiwayinkosi Mhlongo, 15, was abducted from his home and allegedly taken to Embizeni High School, where his head was found outside the school.

The rest of his body was found at the nearby Manyuswa Primary School.

Five people, including two minors, were arrested for the murder and they are expected to apply for bail tomorrow.

Last Sunday, 22-year-old Lindo Shezi was abducted, apparently by a group of men he knew, and was taken to Nselele Junior Primary school, where he was assaulted and killed.

Ward councillor S’thenjwa Nyawose confirmed that uMlazi residents were concerned that criminals were turning schools into murder zones.

“Schools are places of knowledge and have the power to change one’s future for the better.

“To be used as a playground for criminals to take away people’s lives, is evil,” he said.

Nyawose blamed the lack of security at these schools.

“They have no security guards and at night they attract criminals because they are not close to houses. Criminals can easily enter the schools through open fences and gates that are not properly locked,” he said.

Nyawose found it shocking that some of those arrested for beheading the 15-year-old boy were under the age of 18.

“These are boys who are supposed to be at school and they are supposed to have great respect for schools,” he said.

He appealed to the Department of Education to secure schools and make them private spaces of learning.

He said residents had held several meetings with government officials to discuss the issue of crime in the area, but such incidents continued to take place.

Nokuthula Shangase, who lives close to Manyuswa Primary School, said it was scary to walk near the school at night as criminals could easily drag people into the school property.

“Schools should have a security guard or some kind of security system at night to prevent people from entering outside school hours. Most of our schools in the township are not properly gated and fenced, which makes them accessible for criminals to conduct their activities without being seen,” she said.

Teachers’ unions were equally worried about the lack of security at schools.

Nomarashiya Caluza, of the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union, said it would surely be traumatic for pupils and teachers at the school where the headless body was found.

“This will affect teaching and learning. The fact that the school yard was a murder scene is traumatic on its own,” she said.

Allen Thompson, of the National Teachers’ Union, said: “Theft usually happens when schools are closed and without proper security, schools become targets. The department needs to take the security at schools issue seriously.”

Institutions

“What is surprising is that all government institutions, like hospitals, have security guards, but government schools do not have them.”

Muzi Mahlambi, provincial education spokesperson, said criminals used various places to conduct their activities.

“At times, they use cemeteries, community halls, churches, parks and sports grounds, even though these are areas with security and are locked places,” he said.

Daily News