Principal hacked to death

2015-08-27 09:05
Villa Maria Primary School principal Nokuthula Magwanyana’s vehicle surrounded by police tape yesterday, where she was found hacked to death on the Table Mountain Road.

Villa Maria Primary School principal Nokuthula Magwanyana’s vehicle surrounded by police tape yesterday, where she was found hacked to death on the Table Mountain Road. (Amil Umraw)

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Pietermaritzburg - Police are trying to piece together the mystery surrounding the murder of a principal who was found hacked to death in her car on the Table Mountain Road on Wednesday afternoon.

It is suspected that Villa Maria Primary School principal Nokuthula Magwanyana was killed by a group who had been trying to intimidate her into resigning. She was found dead by a police detective in her car on the side of the winding road which leads from her school in the Maqongqo area.

The signs and marks show Magwanyana was killed with a panga after she came to a stop on the way to her Hammarsdale home at about 15:00. She was alone in her car.


Rumours about the motive for her death circulated among community members gathered around the crime scene, with talk surrounding tensions that apparently accompanied her appointment as principal.

When The Witness arrived at the scene, Magwanyana’s body was still in the car, hanging out the driver’s door and prevented from falling out only by her seat belt, which was still secured.

Blood that had dripped down her hands from the multiple wounds on her neck had pooled on the ground under her leaning head.

Magwanyana suffered eight deep wounds to the back of her neck, her upper back, shoulder and right leg, and the side of her face was also deeply cut. It did not appear that anything was taken as her handbag and her cellphone were still in the car.

A man who locals said was Magwanyana’s husband arrived at the scene trembling, and collapsed when he saw his wife’s body, falling to the ground sobbing.

Colleagues from the school arrived shortly after, holding their hands over their mouths as tears flowed down their faces.

Neither family nor colleagues would not speak to The Witness on Wednesday.

A seasoned police source who combed the scene said he was baffled because there were no tyre marks on the road, which ruled out an ambush, as the vehicle did not come to a sudden stop.

The driver’s window was also smashed open, but shards of glass were found only on the passenger’s seat, with nothing on the ground next to the vehicle.

There was no other visible damage to the vehicle.


According to Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Mthokozisi Ngobese, Magwanyana was “ambushed” and had pulled her vehicle to the side of the road, where she was then attacked.

A source said it is believed that she had recently opened a case of intimidation after vandals spray-painted a message on the walls of her home, saying that she would be killed if she did not resign.

“It was obviously a hit. The suspects knew her route well and this is a vicious crime, so the motive must be extremely personal,” the source said.

Former Villa Maria principal Sipho Ntaka, who retired in 2012, said Magwanyana was a head of department when he left and had been appointed principal after his retirement.

“She was good with children and had two children of her own. I knew her well and she was wonderful. I am shocked to hear of her death,” he said.

KZN Education Department spokesperson Sihle Mlotshwa said the department was “very disturbed and shocked that one of our own has been killed in such a barbaric and brutal manner”.

“We trust that the police will find and apprehend the person who committed this horrendous crime and send our deepest condolences to her family, her colleagues and the children she taught. Losing a school principal and leader is a great loss and we are very saddened by this horrendous incident,” he said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime

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