Pupil found dead with gunshot wound

2016-11-23 06:00

THE family of a 16-year-old girl from Caluza, who allegedly shot and killed herself on the weekend, is still trying to come to terms with her death.

Mandisa Dlamini, a Grade 10 pupil at Edendale Technical High, was found dead in the garage of her home after she allegedly shot herself in the stomach with her father’s pistol.

When Maritzburg Echo visited the family on Monday, her father Bonginkosi­, a former councillor in the area, who made the discovery, said he was still too traumatised to reiterate Saturday’s turn of events.

“I can’t speak to you right now, please give me a couple of days to digest­ what has happened. Call me after­ the funeral,” he said.

ER24 spokesperson Werner Vermaak said medics, who responded to the scene, found Mandisa lying in the garage.

“Upon assessment, they found she showed no signs of life and appeared to have a gunshot wound to her stomach­. Sadly, there was nothing that paramedics could do for her and she was declared dead on the scene.”

A pupil from Edendale Technical High, who knew Mandisa, said she is still shocked.

“It’s hard to believe that she killed herself like that. She was very reserved. This is the last thing anyone would have expected her to do. All I heard is that she had a fight with her mother after she [mother] found cigarettes in her school blazer, but I don’t think something that petty could have led her to commit suicide.”

It is understood Mandisa shot herself when her parents were at a funeral. She was home with her younger siblings, who she apparently chased away, locked herself in the garage, and discharged the firearm.

Edendale Technical High deputy principal Philani Njokwe declined to comment about the incident.

“It’s difficult for the school to comment because we have not received an official report from the pupil’s family confirming that she is indeed late.”

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala confirmed the incident and said it was still unclear what transpired.

“A body of a 16-year-old woman was found with a gunshot wound to the stomach and a firearm was found next to the body. Circumstances surrounding the incident are being investigated.

Gwala said a case of failing to safeguard a firearm has been opened for investigation by the Plessislaer police but no arrests have been made.

According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) on their website, statistics show that one in four South African teens have attempted suicide, with 9.5% non-natural­ deaths in youth directly attributable to suicide.

Globally, according to the World Health Organisation, suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15 to 29 year olds, with one person committing suicide every 40 seconds.

For every person who dies by suicide, between 10 to 20 attempt it. Despite the increasingly concerning rate of teen depression and suicide, most schools don’t have counsellors or psycho-social support systems in place. As a result, Sadag has initiated a school-based suicide prevention programme that goes class by class to enable pupils to identify symptoms of depression and warning signs of suicide in themselves, their peers and loved ones.

The programme additionally tells pupils where to go in their community for assistance, and how to contact Sadag­. Sadag also trains teachers because giving power and advice to first-line responders helps them better cope in suicide crises.

The national suicide prevention crisis line 0800 567 567 is also run by Sadag. This toll-free line service is available from 8am to 8pm, daily.

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