Slain KZN principal kept threats a secret

2015-08-28 15:39
Nokuthula Magwanyana. (Picture: Supplied)

Nokuthula Magwanyana. (Picture: Supplied)

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Pietermaritzburg – It appears as though Villa Maria Primary School principal Nokuthula Magwanyana didn’t tell anyone that her life was in danger, not even her husband.

Sbongiseni Magwanyana told News24 on Friday that his wife had never mentioned that someone wanted to kill her. “She never said anything to me about her work,” he said.

The school principal, 46, was found dead in her vehicle on Table Mountain Road, Pietermaritzburg, on Wednesday afternoon. It appeared as though she had been hacked with a panga.

It is alleged that the motive of the killing had something to do with her appointment.

Magwanyana’s husband said he was struggling to come to terms with his wife’s brutal murder.

“I am in pain. There is no other way to describe how I am feeling. I hope the police will do their work to catch those responsible for her death,” he said.

Muti left behind

Chairperson of the School Governing Body, Mlungisi Gcabashe, recalls the chilling details of the morning he and Magwanyana saw a threatening message aimed at the school principal.

The words "Nokuthula Resign" were written in red on the school building.

With the writing on the wall, Gcabashe said the school principal did not inform the SGB that her life was in any danger.

Gcabashe said it also appeared as though a ritual had been performed as there were red candles and a tray with burnt (impepho) traditional incense and muti left behind.  

“When we arrived at school two weeks ago, we saw the writing on two walls of the staff room building and one on another classroom building.

“The culprits did this on a Sunday at midnight because they wanted us to see it on a Monday. We asked the security guard if he had seen anything and he confessed that he fell asleep.”

Gcabashe said the security guards also admitted to arriving late at work that Sunday.

When asked about Magwanyana’s career at the school, he said she joined the school three years ago.

“She was the acting principal for three years and she was made the principal in November last year. She never said anything about problems in the appointment processes.”


Nokuthula Magwanyana’s vehicle. (Amil Umraw, The Witness)

'It is obvious that she had an enemy'

He said he did not know who killed Magwanyana, but what was obvious, he said, was that she had enemies.

Gcabashe said the writing on the wall was not the first message Magwanyana received from her alleged enemies.

“She lived in a flat in Pietermaritzburg and last month something was burnt in the back of her boot. It is obvious that she had an enemy, we just don’t know who the enemy is.”

Gcabashe said there had been several disputes over Magwanyana’s post to the point that the matter was escalated to the provincial education department.

“There were a lot of people that wanted to be the principal of this school, a lot of people were after the position.”

He said the community was still struggling to come to terms with what happened.

“She was a brilliant teacher and the children loved her. The children were devastated when we informed them about the incident,” said Gcabashe.  

KwaZulu-Natal education spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said Magwanyana had not reported the threats to the department.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  education  |  crime

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