File picture: AFP

Durban -

A clerk from Oakford Primary School in Verulam was shot dead on Monday afternoon in full view of pupils walking with her to her car.

One witness, a teacher at the school, said the gunman appeared from “between the bushes and headed straight for her” as she prepared to go home at about 2.30pm.

“She was walking towards her car with some pupils who were helping her with her bags. Suddenly a man appeared… a scuffle ensued and he fired a shot. She fell and he then fired three more shots.”

The school’s bus drivers, pupils and some teachers were outside the school when the incident happened. Other staff were in a meeting.

“We heard gunshots and rushed outside thinking a pupil had been shot only to see (a staff member) lying in a pool of blood,” she said.

“He was casual about it. People who saw him say they assumed he was a parent waiting to pick up a child. He didn’t even hide his face.”

According to the teacher, nothing was taken.

This was the first incident of this nature at the former Catholic school, she said.

Provincial education spokesman Bhekisisa Mncube condemned the shooting, although conceding that the department was unaware of the incident.

“A school or classroom is a holy grail for the department and we don’t expect such incidents to happen,” he said.

Oakford Primary School was in the news recently as the owner of the land on which it is situated refused to allow pupils to enter through an easily accessible gate.

The education department subsequently said it would expropriate the property.

On Monday night, police spokesman Colonel Jay Naicker confirmed the shooting.

He said the 47-year-old woman worked as an administration clerk.

The motive for the killing is unknown.

There have been no arrests.

- The Mercury