Outrage at school killings
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Durban - TEACHERS’ unions, dismayed and shocked at yet another murder of a teacher on school premises, say they will launch a class action suit against the Basic Education Department for failing to protect its staff.
The unions said this as six men aged 26 to 38 are expected to appear in the Greytown Magistrate’s Court today, charged with the murder of a Msinga school principal.
Zwelabantu Zuma was gunned down in his office at midday on Friday.
National Teachers’ Union (Natu) president Allan Thompson said the union would collect the details of all cases where teachers were shot on school premises, with the intention of seeking legal advice.
He said Zuma’s murder was confirmation of an problem unions had raised for years.
“It is unfortunate that the department has done nothing to improve security in these schools.
“We will seek legal advice to see if families can sue the department for failing to ensure that the working environment is safe. It’s the responsibility of any employer to ensure that the working environment is safe. We will encourage the families to sue the department for failure to protect their employee because apart from making a work environment safe you have an obligation to protect them. And the best way to protect them is to provide security,” he said.
Thompson said the department had failed to provide security at schools.
“We are pleased that there have been arrests. We hope that justice will be served and the killers will get what they deserve. However, that will not bring back Zuma.
“We believe we need to do something for those teachers that are still in the system.”
SA Democratic Teachers’ Union provincial secretary Nomarashiya Caluza said they were shocked at the principal’s murder.
“What happened at that school reminds the public that teachers and everyone in schools are not safe at all. One thing that is better this time around is that at least people have been arrested. We always say schools are supposed to be the safest environments, where there is no threat to the lives of pupils, teachers and all other education workers. We urge the department to provide all the necessary support that the school now needs.”
The KZN president of the SA Principals’ Association, Linda Shezi, said school safety should remain a priority.
“We send our sincere condolences to the family of the principal and to his school. Schools are supposed to be safe sanctuaries. Let justice take its course,” he said.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker said the 46-year-old principal was shot and killed at midday on Friday on school premises.
“The suspects fled with their getaway vehicle, which was found on fire a few kilometres from the scene. The men then allegedly hijacked a teacher on her way home and fled in her vehicle. Police intercepted the vehicle at KwaDolo Reserve in Greytown, and six men were arrested. Police seized an R5 rifle, two revolvers and 65 rounds of ammunition, as well as eight cellphones and the hijacked vehicle,” he said.
The Education Department did not respond to the unions’ comments.