Teacher, pupil shot dead as gunmen open fire in classroom

2015-06-03 10:10

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ARMED gunmen walked into a classroom in Nquthu yesterday morning, spraying bullets and killing the teacher — who was also the speaker of the ­Nquthu council — and a pupil.

Another pupil was left seriously ­injured.

ANC councillor Vusi Ntombela (47), a teacher at Luvisi Primary School, was shot five times as the gunmen opened fire on him.

A pupil, Elizabeth Nhleko (12), was shot in the chest and died in hospital while another schoolboy, also aged 12, is seriously injured and receiving treatment at a local hospital.

The motive for the attack is unknown. Police acted swiftly, tracing the alleged gunmen and arresting three men 20 minutes after the attack.

They were apprehended as they were about to flee in their getaway vehicle.

“The incident happened a short distance away from the police station.

“The police were at the scene very quickly and they were given the description of the suspects and the direction they fled.

“They were able to trace them quickly and arrest them,” said police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker.

Department of Co-operative ­Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) officials said pandemonium broke out and traumatised children scurried for cover as the gunmen shot Ntombela.

Cogta MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube condemned the brutal murder.

“The death of a councillor who is an elected servant of the people leaves a gaping void in the sphere of local government and has robbed us of one more foot soldier in our fight against poverty, inequality and unemployment,” she said.

“It is incidents such as this heinous crime that remind us that crime and violence remain a grave challenge in our communities.”

Dube-Ncube said she felt the pain and horror experienced by the parents of the pupils who witnessed the shooting.

“This must indeed be petrifying for any parent who sends their innocent children to school in the hope that they will become better people in the future, only to be killed in the environment where they should be acquiring knowledge instead of their lives being put at risk.

“We all feel the terrible pain that has been inflicted on the families and the entire community of Nquthu. This clearly shows that criminals have no regard for human life.”

MEC for Education Peggy Nkonyeni said: “Our prayers are with the family of the deceased and we would like to wish the injured pupil a speedy recovery.”

Department of Education spokesperson Sihle Mlotshwa said they had sent counsellors to the school to help those who had witnessed the shooting. “We know that trauma affects learning.”

The KZN provincial police commissioner, Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni, said: “While we condemn the brutal manner in which this educator and pupil were killed, we are pleased that police were able to act swiftly and trace the suspects immediately after the crime was committed.”

ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said they were disturbed by the murder. “We want to pass our condolences to his family, friends and his comrades.”

Ntombela left behind a wife and three children

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