Double tragedy for Soweto school as principal and pupil die
Johannesburg - A Soweto school has been rocked by a double tragedy following the death of a school principal and a pupil within the space of a few days.
Sebetsa-O-Tholemoputso High School principal, Fana Khoele, died on Monday morning when he collapsed at home. His death follows that of Grade 8 pupil, Zweli Dube, who was struck by lightning on Friday during a fierce Joburg storm.
The Gauteng Department of Education confirmed both deaths on Monday, through spokesperson Steve Mabona.
Mabona said Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi was saddened by the deaths.
“It is alleged that Mr Khoele collapsed on Monday morning, and passed on at his home.
“On another sad note, a Grade 8 learner from the same school also passed on. Zweli Dube was on his way from school when he was struck by lightning on Friday afternoon and passed away just a kilometre from the school,” said Mabona.
Lesufi has conveyed his condolences to the Khoele and Dube families.
“We wish to convey our sincerest condolences to the affected families and the school community on the loss of their loved ones,” said the MEC.
He is expected to visit both families and the affected school on Tuesday morning.
Meanwhile, a Benoni scholar transport driver was shot in full view of pupils being transported to the Etwatwa Secondary School on Monday morning.
The pupils were being transported from the Msholozi informal settlement in Benoni.
“The driver had successfully dropped off pupils at other schools and was completing his last stop at Etwatwa Secondary School in Wattville.
“While seated in the bus, an unknown man approached and shot three times at the bus, with only one shot hitting the driver above his right eye.
“The driver was then rushed to a hospital, where he is currently receiving necessary medical attention,” said Mabona.
The shooting, the department believes, is linked to tensions around the provision of scholar transport in the area. The department alleged that the Benoni Taxi Association was involved in the shooting as they were not supportive of the scholar transport system.
Said Mabona: “We have called upon the police to assist in securing our learners’ buses, and patrolling to be done at drop-off points. We will also explore the facilitation of a community meeting this evening to pave a way forward”.
Lesufi meanwhile, has called for peace.
“We introduced the scholar transport in February 2020 as one of the department’s initiatives to aid learners coming from disadvantaged backgrounds in the area, and as such necessary meetings were held with stakeholders to explain the implementation process accordingly,” he said.
“This is to appeal to all stakeholders to allow the scholar transport to run smoothly. It is important to emphasise that acts of violence will not yield any positive results, it will only lead to unnecessary injuries, trauma and fatalities, which is unfortunate,” said Lesufi.
The department said it had dispatched its psycho-social teams to the school to provide counselling for the affected pupils.
In a separate incident, the department reported another death of a Grade 8 pupil at Springs Boys High School and injuries to a Suncrest High School pupil in Vanderbijlpark, who was knocked by a vehicle.
At Springs, the department said the 13-year-old died after allegedly committing suicide. It is unknown why he took his life, while at Suncrest High, a Grade 9 pupil who was knocked by a car on Thursday had to be airlifted to hospital.
He is still in hospital.