File photo

Cape Town - A matric schoolboy at Spes Bona High School in Athlone was shot and seriously wounded on the school’s grounds on Wdnesday morning.

A spokesman at Groote Schuur Hospital said the boy was in a “very critical” condition.

The pupil, who is from Manenberg, was shot in the neck at about 8am, as pupils gathered in the quad before classes began.

The Cape Argus spoke to a pupil who knew the victim and saw the shooting.

“A guy in casual clothes came up behind him, pulled out a gun and shot (him) in the neck at close range,” the pupil said.

The shooter ran for the gate, still holding the gun, and disappeared down the street.

“(He) was lying there, and didn’t respond when we tried to speak to him. We thought he was dead because he lost a lot of blood. But when the paramedics came they said that there was a pulse,” the pupil said. The Cape Argus was prevented from entering the school, and told that staff members were not allowed to comment on the incident.

A group of parents had gathered outside the school, and spoke about other violent incidents in the area.

Sakirah Williams, who has grandchildren at the school, said the shooting was the latest in a series of attacks carried out by teenagers affiliated to gangs in the area.

A young man who matriculated last year was shot and killed two weeks ago, parents said.

“Many of our kids, including my own son at another school, are being terrorised and held up at gun point on a regular basis. My son is not a gangster, he just lives in the wrong area. The gangsters don’t care,” said Williams.

Another parent, who asked not to be named, took her grade 9 son out of the school for the day.

“He saw what happened and is very traumatised as you can see. The department’s counsellor said that the kids are calm, but they need individual attention not a group counselling session. I don’t consider the school to be a safe place anymore,” she said.

Asked whether he would return to class tomorrow, the pupil shook his head.

Parents said they would convene a community meeting at 7pm tomorrow at a local creche to discuss the violence and gangsterism.

Bronagh Casey, spokeswoman for Education MEC Donald Grant, said the department had sent officials to investigate and provide counselling services.

“We do not yet know the status of the learner or his age. It was reported that the perpetrator was an outsider,” she said.

Casey said that while the shooter was reported to be an outsider, he appeared to have been wearing a school uniform. Police said officers on the scene were still investigating.

The pupil was in a “very critical” condition, said Groote Schuur hospital spokesman Alaric Jacob.

Cape Argus