Sweetwaters teacher found shot in car

2015-03-16 00:00

MYSTERY surrounds the reasons why a caring Sweetwaters teacher was shot execution-style on a lonely forest road near Baynesfield on Saturday.

The woman, identified as Gugule­thu Gwamanda (59), was found dead in her car with five bullet wounds in an abandoned plantation near ­Baynesfield.

She was found by police in her ­Toyota Verso on a narrow dirt road that runs between hilltop plantations just outside ­Baynesfield.

According to police sources who could not be named, her body was found with five bullet wounds in an “execution-style” murder.

It is believed that nothing was ­stolen from the vehicle and a file containing divorce papers that were handed to her earlier this month was found in the cubbyhole of the car.

There were also school uniforms on the back seat.

It is unclear as to when she was killed or how her car got to the ­secluded area, accessed by a maze of narrow dirt roads.

Gwamanda was found on one of those roads, surrounded by thick bushes and trees.

Speaking to The Witness yesterday, Gwamanda’s husband, Johnny, said the family is “not okay”. Asked if he knew how she came to be in the forest, he said replied: “That’s what we don’t know”.

He paid tribute to her as a loving mother to their three children and a caring teacher at Umthoqotho High School.

“She took care of people. She paid the school fees and bought uniforms for some of the children who did not have parents. She was a churchgoer and also a businesswoman.”

He said that she was a senior ­teacher who previously taught Zulu and history and had started at the same time as the school principal.

He said he did not want to divulge any information about the ­circumstances of her death until the police finish their investigations, only confirming that police had found his wife’s body.

The Witness visited premises in Boom Street that are believed to ­belong to Gwamanda to find college students who rent the accommodation from her.

One of the students, who asked not to be named, said: “She was a nice lady who was not strict about the rent. We are all shocked about her death and we don’t know why ­anybody would do that to her.”

“I thought of her like a mother,” one tenant said.

Another woman, who asked not to be named, said she was one of ­Gwamanda’s previous employees.

The woman confirmed that Gwamanda was a teacher at a high school in Sweetwaters and that she had four children, two boys and two girls.

“The last time I saw her was in ­December last year and I know she had trouble in her marriage and was heading towards a divorce. She was a lovely person,” she said.

According to police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker, the Thornville police station is investigating a case of murder.

“The motive of the killing is ­unknown and no arrest has been made at this stage,” Naicker said.

• amil.umraw@witness.co.za

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