Forest High open under police guard after fatal stabbing of pupil

2019-06-06 08:18
Forest High School.

Forest High School. (Twitter)

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Forest High School in the south of Johannesburg will be open again on Thursday following the fatal stabbing of a pupil outside the school on Monday.

Daniel Bakwela, 18, was stabbed to death outside the school, allegedly by a fellow pupil.

Gauteng police have since arrested a pupil who was on the run after he allegedly stabbed three fellow pupils, leaving one dead outside the school in Turffontein.

While the motive is unclear, pupils have reported that the suspect was defending himself when being attacked by the three pupils. The other two pupils were injured in the alleged altercation. 

Gauteng education spokesperson Steve Mabona said in a voice message that school activities would resume on Thursday. 

Exams to continue

"Examinations will continue and all grades are writing. We will also utilise Friday to continue with examinations," Mabona said.

Mabona said activities at the school will continue next week. In terms of exams, Mabona said the school will need to recover the three days that have been lost owing to the school being closed following the incident.

"The motive…is unknown at this stage and police investigation is continuing. The suspect will appear in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on Wednesday, facing charges of murder and attempted murder," police spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo said earlier.

According to Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, the stabbings occurred after a scuffle had broken out between the victims and the suspect last week.

ALSO READ: High school stabbing: Pupil arrested after killing fellow pupil and wounding two others

Lesufi said the suspect had been writing his examinations on Monday. The three victims, who had no examinations scheduled for the day, were allegedly waiting for him outside the school.

Lesufi had suspended classes with immediate effect.

Mabona said the department has since offered counselling to pupils and teachers. "Our employment wellness programme was at the school and we will continue to help those that need assistance."

Mabona called on members of the public to "give the school some space" to operate. 

"Let's respect the justice system to take care of all criminal activities that occurred around the school.

"We have requested the police to monitor the situation at the school as we resume with our programme," Mabona said.

School is like a prison

The Star on Wednesday reported that conditions at the school are dire and akin to a prison.

"This school should be called 'Forest High Correctional Service'. When you get into the toilet, the older guys tell you that this is not a place for small boys and you are forced to pay money," a pupil told the newspaper.

"They also tell you to massage their penises and make them ejaculate. Almost 99% of the school is either on weed or some kind of a drug," another pupil reportedly said.

According to another pupil, two rival gangs – the South Top Kids and the Italian Destruction Vele – had members inside and outside the school.

News24 quoted a pupil who said gang fights were the norm at the school, claiming that Bakelwa and his friends were gang members who fought with the suspect's gang on a regular basis.

"They were carrying sjamboks and bricks and the suspect, who was being attacked, took out his knife and stabbed three boys from the STK gang," said a Grade 11 pupil, according to Sowetan.

Read more on:    johannesburg ­  |  education  |  crime

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