Top KZN education official living in fear after attempted hit

2016-02-16 13:33
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Durban – KwaZulu-Natal Education Department Deputy Director-General Judy Dlamini says she is living in fear after an attempt on her life last week. 

Suspects driving an unmarked BMW opened fire on her Mercedes C200 on Monday, February 8, as she made her way to a meeting in Durban. Dlamini escaped unharmed.

Although it has been widely speculated that the incident is linked to the department’s school feeding scheme, Dlamini said that this was highly unlikely.

She said she left home around 06:30 on Monday. She said she had woken up feeling extraordinarily fearful, so she had taken her Bible to work.

"I took my Bible and placed it on the back seat of my car… I also sent a message to one of my comrades and informed them that I was afraid to travel alone that day."

Ignoring her gut feeling, Dlamini left the house and drove to work.

"I noticed a suspicious white BMW with no number plate that was following me. It would not overtake and it would slow down when I slowed down."

Dlamini said she stopped at the Engen garage near Cato Ridge for a cup of coffee. She said she did not notice the vehicle again until a few kilometres after she drove out of the garage.

"As I was approaching Peacevale, the vehicle resurfaced again so I decided to take the M13, but the vehicle came speeding on my right and pushing me to the left."

Dlamini said a shot was fired through the back passenger window and the bullet landed on the front passenger seat.

"I thought it was a tyre burst, then I realised that that the window had been shattered."

Dlamini said she was afraid, as this was not the first time her life had come under threat.

"In 2012, I was assigned two bodyguards because my life was under threat. They were taken away at the end of December 2013 when the threat stabilised."

Dlamini said one of the key tasks she had when she joined the department was to transform the province’s school nutrition programme.

She said one of her tasks was to make sure that service providers benefited equally.

"People were being greedy. You would get one service provider feeding up to 300 schools. We have now capped it to no more than 3 000 learners per service provider."

Dlamini said service providers were making an annual turnover of between R25m and R35m.

'I don’t have enemies'

She said although she may have made some enemies, she did not think the recent shooting was related to the school nutrition programme.

"The programme is now being co-ordinated from the office of the HOD, Dr Nkosinathi Sishi, and has been since 2013.

"I don’t have enemies, so I really don’t know who may have done this."

Dlamini said she was wanted the police to get to the bottom of the shooting.

"I appreciate the support I have received from the department, the protection I believe is a work in progress," she said.

KwaZulu-Natal education spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said the department was still shocked by the incident.

"The department is concerned about its employees receiving death threats and it is even worse when they are shot at."

When asked if Dlamini would be getting bodyguards, Mahlambi said: "The issue of qualifying for personal security is something taken care of by law enforcement agencies.

"They will advise the department whether there is a threat and if the employee requires the protection."

He said the department took the matter very seriously.

"We will certainly take the advice we get from law enforcement officers," said Mahlambi.

Read more on:    durban  |  education

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