22 children killed while at school in 2018 - Bheki Cele

2019-04-08 19:17
(Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

(Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

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What were supposed to be safe spaces and sites of learning were turned into sites of tragedy and trauma, as 22 children were killed at different schools across South Africa last year.

Asked by EFF MP Mgcini Tshwaku about the total number of children killed at schools, Police Minister Bheki Cele confirmed that nearly two dozen children had been killed across the country in 2018.

The Eastern Cape, Free State and Gauteng were the only provinces that recorded zero deaths at schools across their respective provinces.  

KwaZulu-Natal had the greatest number of children killed at school, with nine reported incidents in 2018. The North West province had four such incidents, while Limpopo and Mpumalanga had three each. The Western and Northern Cape provinces had two and one fatalities respectively.

News24's previous reportage indicates that at least two of the killings in KwaZulu-Natal involved pupils at KwaMasakhane High School in KwaMakhutha, south of Durban, who died after allegedly being stabbed by other pupils.

According to reports by East Coast Radio, two weeks after the incident, a 16-year-old boy was also allegedly stabbed and killed by fellow pupils at a high school in Inanda, north of Durban. 

In the North West, news of the murder of a Grade 1 pupil being stabbed by a high school pupil was met with shock and incredulity across the country in November.

It was reported that a Mankala Technical High School pupil allegedly hid in the toilets of Dikeledi Makapan Primary School in the North West overnight before he allegedly repeatedly stabbed the Grade 1 pupil to death.

In February of 2018, a pupil at a high school outside Seshego, near Polokwane, was denied bail in the Senwabarwana Magistrate's Court after he allegedly stabbed a classmate to death during a heated argument.

In the Northern Cape, News24 reported that a 38-year-old man was arrested for allegedly shooting and murdering a Grade 10 pupil at Mokgolokwe Middle School, near Batlharo.

In September, the government made a call for stakeholders to come together and address the issue of escalating levels of violence in schools.

"Violence in schools is a societal problem which requires all stakeholders to play their part to create a safe schooling environment," acting director of the Government Communication and Information System Phumla Williams said in a statement at the time.

Read more on:    education  |  crime
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