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Durban - The family of a Folweni teacher who was shot dead at school yesterday say they do not know why he was targeted.

Sbonakaliso Nyawose, a maths teacher at Masuku Primary School, south of Durban, was gunned down as he arrived at the school premises, in front of pupils and his colleagues.

Netcare 911 spokesperson Shawn Herbst said that “reports from the scene alleged that an unknown male had entered the school premises and fired multiple shots at a 48-year-old male teacher, striking him in the head and abdomen”.

Nyawose’s relatives arrived at the school a few hours after the incident. Muzomuhle Magwaza, half-brother of Nyawose, said the family were devastated.

The emotional Magwaza said he was at work when he got the call about his brother’s death.

“He had never mentioned anything about being threatened by anyone. We are confused and don’t know why he was killed like that,” said Magwaza.

School pupils were sent home after the incident and a large group of residents gathered outside the school entrance.

A resident, who did not want to be named, alleged that he saw two men standing near the school prior to the shooting. He said after Nyawose’s car entered the school, one man walked into the school.

“That is when I heard gunshots and I immediately ran away, as I was confused. The shootings in this community are scary. There are a lot of thugs here who own guns,” said the member.

Local ward councillor Thokozani Xulu said the community was shocked by the incident.

“We are very shocked, as the community, by this great loss of a teacher. We just have to wait for the law enforcement to do their job and we hope that they will be able to arrest suspects soon,” said Xulu.

The provincial South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) called on the MEC of Education Kwazi Mshengu, to deal with violence in schools.

Sadtu spokesperson Nomarashiya Caluza said the education department needed to develop programmes aimed at strengthening the safety and security, of teachers and pupils, in schools.

“We strongly condemn this cold-blooded murder, which has left not only the family but also the community, as well as learners and teachers in his school, highly traumatized.

“Our expectation is to see the MEC acting in addressing these challenges,” said Caluza.

She said that they will dedicate more time in the union’s upcoming provincial general council to discuss issues of safety and security in schools.

KZN Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu condemned the shooting as being “barbaric and heartless”.

“This is the most painful news I have had to deal with since assuming office. On behalf of the entire education fraternity, I wish to send heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Mr Nyawose,” said Mshengu.

He said that the department was working with the KZN MEC for Transport, Community Safety, and Liaison, Mxolisi Kaunda to tackle the issue of safety in schools.

Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said a case of murder had been opened for investigation by Folweni SAPS.

The Mercury