Mossel Bay - A grade 11 pupil has died after being stabbed in the face during a break-time scuffle at school.

Thabani Mntini, 19, was involved in a fight with two other pupils at about 10am yesterday on the grounds of Hillcrest Secondary School in Mossel Bay, said police spokesman Captain Malcolm Pojie.

“The two attackers [stabbed] Mntini in the face and chest before fleeing the scene,” he said.

“Mntini suffered three stab wounds. Other pupils picked him up and carried him to the school’s main admin building. Police and paramedics arrived soon afterwards. The emergency services tried to stabilise the victim on the scene, but failed to do so. He died a short while later.

“The two suspects, both aged 18 and in Grade 10, ran from the school in the direction of KwaNonqaba township. A police patrol identified them and arrested them on a street in the township. They are in custody.”

A murder docket was opened, but Pojie could not confirm whether the teenagers had been charged.

Speaking to the Cape Argus this morning, Hillcrest principal Joey Bavuma said the details surrounding the fight were sketchy.

“At the time of the stabbing all our resources were focused on creating a comfortable environment for our matrics who started writing their exams yesterday,” said Bavuma.

“At break-time our teachers were focusing on keeping learners quiet outside of the hall where our matrics were writing.

“It was only when pupils carried Mntini into the admin building that we found out about the stabbing.”

Bavuma speculated that the altercation between the learners was an “overspill” from a weekend quarrel.

“That is often the case; that’s why we call them ‘blue Mondays’ at our school,” he said.

He described Mntini as an introvert and a quiet person who had no history of behavioural problems or fighting at the school.

During the time the wounded Mntini was in the administration building “he did not utter a word”.

Meanwhile Donald Grant, MEC of Education, called the school to express his condolences and to offer assistance.

Bavuma used the opportunity to draw Grant’s attention to the issue of “over-aged” pupils, who are considerably older than their classmates.

“That is a major factor in bullying, fighting and quarrels throughout schools in this district,” said Bavuma.

“We need to work on a policy and a framework where these over-aged learners can be accommodated in classrooms away from younger pupils in the same grade.”

A memorial service for Mntini was held at the school this morning.

Education Department spokesman Paddy Atwell said a team of counsellors and officials had been sent to the school to investigate the incident and provide trauma counselling.

“Psychologists and a social worker returned to the school today to continue counselling,” he said. -

Cape Argus