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Slain Heinz Park maths teacher’s killing ’planned’

Staff and parents at Heinz Park Primary School in Philippi formed a guard of honour as the body of murdered Grade 6 maths teacher Thulani Manqoyi was taken away by forensics. Manqoyi was killed in an apparent hit on the school’s premises.

Staff and parents at Heinz Park Primary School in Philippi formed a guard of honour as the body of murdered Grade 6 maths teacher Thulani Manqoyi was taken away by forensics. Manqoyi was killed in an apparent hit on the school’s premises.

Published Sep 22, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - The family of slain Heinz Park Primary School teacher Thulani Manqoyi in Philippi believe his killing may have been planned, as the suspects allegedly held security guards at gunpoint before going to his car and shooting him in the head and shoulder.

Slain Thulani Manqoyi

Manqoyi’s murder has left the education fraternity, which continues to grapple with the scourge violence, in shock.

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The 53-year-old had pulled into the school’s parking lot at about 7.45am on Tuesday when he was ambushed and shot dead inside his car.

Earlier this month Bloekombos High School’s principal Ntombizandile Goniwe received death threats when a car reportedly following her was seen parked outside the school premises.

Goniwe has been placed on special leave by the Western Cape Department (WCED) and is still at a safe house.

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On Tuesday, two armed men forcefully gained entry to the Heinz Park Primary School after allegedly threatening the school’s security guard at gunpoint.

Manqoyi’s brother Simphiwe Manqoyi said the teacher sustained a gunshot wound to the head and his shoulder.

“The family received a call from the school about the shooting and we rushed to the scene. The police were already there and his body was covered but were allowed to view his body before the forensics loaded him in their vehicle.

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“Apparently when they had entered the premises one of the men went straight to the car and fired the shots before walking away.

“It’s still early to know what could be the motive and as the family we are not aware if he felt like his life was at risk or if there was something bothering him at school.

“But by the way this transpired it seems like something that was planned and might have been followed,” he said.

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Simphiwe said they were hoping that the school camera captured the incident.

“We are all still in shock and devastated. He left behind three children and stayed in Makhaya in Khayelitsha.”

Police spokesperson Andrè Traut said circumstances leading to the teacher’s killing were being investigated and no one has been arrested yet.

Western Cape Education Department (WCED) spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said Manqoyi, a Grade 6 maths teacher, has been teaching at the school since 2008.

Hammond said counselling support has been arranged for pupils and teachers.

MEC Debbie Schäfer said to lose a long-serving teacher in that way was a senseless tragedy and called for police to “do everything in their power to find and arrest the perpetrators as soon as possible.”

“It is unacceptable that our teachers, who are providing one of the most vital services for our country, cannot be safe at work,” said Schäfer.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has conveyed her condolences to the family and called for a thorough investigation.

Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said Motshekga was shocked and saddened at the brutal murder of another teacher.

“The Minister has called upon the police to ensure that the murderers are arrested, charged and jailed. The safety of teachers, staff and indeed our learners is a responsibility of the entire society and we must all play our part to end the violence and criminal activities,” he said.

It was a sad day in education when principals and teachers became soft targets for violence, said Progressive Principals’ Association spokesperson Anthea Adriaanse.

“Staff have the right to safety and protection which should be provided by the employer. Teaching and learning cannot thrive if the right to safety is compromised. Principals and teachers face threats when their decisions and actions are not in accordance with the perpetrators' expectations. This is unacceptable and makes teaching, especially in township schools, a high risk.”

Adriaanse said it will be difficult to encourage young people to pursue a career in education if their safety cannot be guaranteed.

“We demand safer teaching and learning spaces which is a fundamental right,” she said.

SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) provincial chairperson Jonovan Rustin said the daily violence at schools undermined the constitutional rights of children.

“Schools are places of safety and educators, learners and the non-teaching staff need to be protected from these horrendous acts of violence. We are calling upon the WCED to step up security at Heinz Park Primary and surrounding areas so that everybody involved in the school is safe. Sadtu is monitoring the situation at the school through our branch leadership and we will be keeping our members informed as to what the latest developments are.”

Rustin said the union has developed a campaign called “I am a School Fan'' which calls for schools to be safe places and communities to assist.

Anyone with information about the incident can anonymously contact Crime Stop at 0860010111 or SMS Crime Line at 32211.

Cape Times

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