School in shock as clerk is shot dead

2014-02-26 00:00

TUCKED away in a fold of hills amidst the cane fields outside Verulam there is an air of tranquillity about Oakford Primary School, once part of a convent and educational complex run by Dominican nuns.

That tranquillity was shattered on Monday afternoon when school staff member Thandiwe Mtungwa (47) was gunned down just metres from the principal’s office.

When The Witness visited the scene yesterday, the school governing body were having a meeting but had been instructed by the provincial education department not to speak to the press.

“But there is nothing to say because we don’t know what happened,” said one person, who did not want to be named. “All we heard was the shots.”

Mtungwa was a clerk in the finance office at the school. According to the SAPS, at approximately 2.30 pm on Monday afternoon she was busy putting bags into a vehicle when a man approached and shot her dead.

Over 900 pupils attend Oakford Primary and, according to the education department, some pupils were assisting Mtungwa when she was shot.

“The incident happened after school so there were learners everywhere,” according to Education Department spokesperson Bhekisisa Mncube. He confirmed a counselling team from the department visited the school yesterday morning where they counselled pupils and teachers.

According to the police, the motive for the killing is not known. Verulam police are investigating a case of murder and no arrest has been made.

The convent, known as Oakford Priory, and the land on which Sacred Heart High School and Oakford Primary stand, was sold by the Roman Catholic Church in 2009 to Marius Maritz.

The land on which the two schools are located was later expropriated by the province.

A memorial service for Mtungwa will be held at the school tomorrow.

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