Pupil killed at prayers

2013-10-29 00:00

CONFLICTING explanations of the incident that led to the death of a schoolboy in Dannhauser yesterday almost overshadowed the latest violent incident at a school in the province.

Bongani Nkabinde (18), a Grade 9 pupil from Sizimisele High School in Dannhauser, died at a local clinic yesterday after he was hit with a knobkerrie during a fight at school.

According to KZN Education Department spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi, the pupils had gathered at an assembly praying for those who were about to write their English exam paper when chaos erupted.

Apparently a group fighting outside the school yard ran into the school. Mahlambi said the dead boy was not involved in the brawl.

But according to police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane, two groups of pupils got into a fight during school assembly and an 18-year-old pupil was assaulted. He later died in the local clinic, where two others were treated for their injuries.

Police are still investigating and no arrests have been made.

Mahlambi said Education MEC Peggy Nkonyeni and Community Safety MEC Willies Mchunu will ensure measures to deal with this case.

He said they have sent a psychologist to counsel the pupils, and will also visit the school today.

He said violence at the school was not common, but admitted they were experiencing pockets of violence.

“We take these incidents very seriously, anything that inflicts pain on others, be it bullying or stabbing someone with a pen. We condemn any form of violence.”

Mahlambi said they are working with police to conduct workshops at schools and pleaded with parents to take a stance against violence.

“We don’t teach violence at schools. Pupils come with it and then we look bad because they’re acting it out at schools,” he added.

Last week The Witness reported on a brawl at Kharwastan Secondary School in Chatsworth where two boys were caught on camera fighting.

And, in May this year, The Witness reported about Umlalama High Secondary in Hopewell, a school that has been marred by violence and gang fighting for several years.

Independent child specialist and former KZN Childline director Linda Naidoo said usually when children resort to violence, they themselves are experiencing some sort of violence or abuse.

“They don’t feel good about who they are and hurt other people.”

She said many children have no family, others live in difficult situations and lack role models, which is an important ingredient in a child’s life. She said children need be equipped with life skills on how to deal with emotion and that teachers at schools also need to be trained to deal with youngsters.

There are also not enough social workers to deal with social issues, she added.

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