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33 teaching staff seriously attacked and one killed on school grounds since 2016

Zuraya Barden, 61, a secretary at Primrose Primary School was shot and killed. FILE

Zuraya Barden, 61, a secretary at Primrose Primary School was shot and killed. FILE

Published Apr 16, 2022


IN THE the past seven years, the Western Cape Education Department revealed there have been 33 serious attacks on teaching staff on school grounds with one fatality.

Since 2020, there has been three fatal attacks on teaching staff outside or near school grounds and one attempted murder.

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Just a week ago, Primrose Park Primary School secretary, Zuraya Barden, 61, was shot and killed inside her car while driving along Kunene Street in Manenberg and her 6-year-old grandchild had been inside the vehicle and was left unharmed.

CCTV footage of the alleged getaway vehicle of the gunman went viral on social media.

Parents and former colleagues who took to social media were outraged by the killing.

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The Weekend Argus also approached her family for comment who declined stating it was a sensitive time and that many stories had circulated about the motive behind the shooting and said it was best to leave it in the hands of the police.

The incidents between 2020 and 2021, which occurred both on the school grounds and outside are as follows:

Zameka Mfubesi, 46, was the principal of Umyezo Wama Apile High in Grabouw and was murdered. FILE

Mother of two, Zameka Mfubesi of Kuils River who was the principal of Umyezo Wama Apile High in Grabouw was shot and killed along the N2 in September 2020. The WCED had offered a R20 0000 reward. A suspect, Sizwe Bebula, made an appearance at the Grabouw Magistrates’ Court last week after he was arrested in Vredendal. He is apparently also linked to two other murders in the Eastern Cape.

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Thulani Manqoyi, who was shot and killed in Philippi last year. AYANDA NDAMANE African News Agency (ANA)

On the morning of September 21 2021, Grade 6 teacher, Thulani Manqoyi sat reading inside his vehicle in the parking area of the school when he was ambushed by gunmen at Heinz Park Primary School. His killers have not been arrested.

Wilmar Valentine, 26, is making an appearances at the Worcester Magistrate's Court after he was arrested following an incident on November 5 last year where he allegedly attacked his former girlfriend, Erin Fourie, a teacher at the Worcester High School and had apparently entered the school’s grounds. The woman survived the incident.

The principal of Itsitsa Primary School in Mfuleni was attacked by someone who pretended to be a matric pupil writing their final exams on November 10 last year. It is alleged the gunman opened fire on the principal while he sat inside his car in the parking lot but missed.

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In March, Vuyo Duna, 37, was an the ANC member and a Grade 12 IsiXhosa teacher at Bloekombos Secondary School in Kraaifontein and his body was found by residents in Zenzile Street, Bloekombos, with gunshot wounds to the upper body.

Primrose Park Primary School Secretary, Zuraya Barden, was shot and killed inside her car in Kunene Street in Manenberg on April 8 and her 6-year-old grandson was present and left unarmed

Kerry Mauchline, spokesperson for Western Cape MEC for Education, Debbie Schafer, said they had seen a decrease in violent or serious incidents on school grounds.

She said pupils had witnessed the crime of Barden’s murder while travelling to school and that counselling had been provided. “The incident last week was NOT school-related and should not be reported as such. Sadly some learners witnessed the incident while travelling to school, and we provided support to them and the staff members who worked closely with the deceased and much has been done to protect everyone on the school grounds.

“Violent crime is unfortunately a reality in our country, and it follows that crime in the community will also affect school staff. The WCED, through the Safe Schools directorate, works with various partners – including SAPS, other government departments, and NGOs – to reduce violence in schools and increase awareness of the risks posed by criminals. While we have structures in place, we are also reliant on SAPS to enforce safety in our communities.

“Even with high fences, access control measures, alarm systems, and security personnel, our schools have still been victims of crime.”

In the graph displayed, Mauchline said there had been 10 serious incidents in 2016, nine in 2017, six in 2018, two in 2019, three in 2020, two in 2021 and one in 2022 and one fatality in 2021.

“We have however seen a decrease in the number of serious attacks on teachers on school property (as reported to Safe Schools) she said:

The data provided by the WCED. supplied image

Stacy McLean, spokesperson for Anroux Marais, Acting Minister of Community Safety, Western Cape Government, said they condemned the attacks on the teaching fraternity.

“As these are ongoing criminal cases, the Department of Community Safety cannot comment on them. If the Department has the CAS number, we can follow up with SAPS to determine the progress made but we would not be able to share the information on a public platform. In all of these cases, it would be best to request comments from the SAPS.

“As a department, we strongly condemn any attacks on government employees such as medical workers, social workers, teachers and law enforcement officials.

“Staff safety is a priority for the Western Cape Government and each department through the assistance of security risk management provides awareness sessions in this regard.”

Basil Manuel, executive director of National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) said the attacks on teaching staff had become a sickness. “Naptosa is obviously perturbed by this upswing in violence directed to the schooling fraternity.

The growing number of incidents are in themselves disconcerting especially since all of them have occurred within the school community (not premises).

“It is a given that there appears to be different motives behind these murders but one that stands out is the growing cancer of GBV.

“More disturbing is the lack of success by the police. But even that is not out of sync with the poor performance of the police on crime.

“This is lamentable and simply disturbing that criminals can act with impunity knowing that it is unlikely that they would be arrested.

“While we know that it is not possible to police every school, there is a need for better security and safer schools and school environments especially in areas that are known crime hot-spots.

“But this goes to the visibility of police around schools and in communities. It speaks to respect from communities for education workers and facilities.”

Police spokesperson, Captain FC van Wyk said there had been no arrests in Barden and Manqoyi cases.

Weekend Argus