Pupils of Laduma teacher fear gunmen may return

2018-03-20 13:30
Slain Laduma High School deputy principal Priscilla Thembelihle Mchunu.

Slain Laduma High School deputy principal Priscilla Thembelihle Mchunu. (File)

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“She begged them to spare her life and they responded by firing a hail of bullets at her.”

Those were the heart-wrenching words of a former Laduma High School pupil who said teacher Priscilla Thembelihle Mchunu, gunned down a year ago, had begged the two gunmen who confronted her not to kill her.

Mchunu, a deputy principal at Laduma High School in Mpumuza, Edendale, was shot dead in front of her Grade 12 pupils on March 18 last year in a murder that rocked the country and the Edendale community.

Mchunu was in a classroom teaching, when at around 11 am two men came in and opened fire on her. She was declared dead at the scene.

A year after the incident, a former pupil on Monday recalled the horror of seeing his teacher being murdered.

“I will never forget that day. I thought we were all going to die.

“I arrived at school at around 9 am. I was late but to my relief Mrs Mchunu also hadn’t arrived. She was running late that day, which was strange because she was usually at school before everybody.”

The former pupil said 30 minutes after he arrived, Mchunu was still not there.

“We [pupils] then decided that if she didn’t arrive by 10 am we would go back home. Just as we were getting ready to leave we saw her car drive in.

“I was sitting at the back of the history class when these two men walked in. One of them was carrying a gun in his hand. They both walked straight to her and just started firing.”

The pupils cowered under the desks until they couldn’t hear a sound.

After what seemed like an eternity of waiting, they got up to find their teacher lying in a pool of blood next to her table. Police found 19 cartridges at the crime scene.

The former pupil said Mchunu had received a mysterious call 15 minutes prior to her death.

“She said it was someone who wanted to confirm if she was at school.

“Whoever it was, they said they were coming to deliver building material for the school; strangely enough that delivery was never made.”

The young man from Mpumuza said when the gunmen had left and chaos erupted, he went to Mchunu to check if she was still alive.

“I touched her to see if she was still alive but she was gone. She sustained multiple wounds on her head. I closed her eyes and we used another pupil’s jersey to cover her face.”

The pupil said living through the traumatic experience has been difficult.

“I try not to think about it. I don’t let it control me but it’s hard. Since the incident, I don’t leave the house doors unlocked when I’m alone. It instilled fear in me."

The pupil described Mchunu as “motherly”.

“She encouraged me and always wanted me to do my best. It’s heartbreaking that no one has been arrested. I also live in fear ... no one knows when these men may return.”

Meanwhile, a member of the Mchunu family said they were still waiting for justice.

Plessislaer police spokesperson, Captain Musa Ntombela, confirmed that no arrests have been made.

Despite The Witness asking for an update on the investigations, Ntombela had very little to offer other than that police were still following up leads.

Speaking to The Witness, Mchunu’s daughter, Andiswa, said although they have been receiving updates from the police, nothing tangible has come out of the investigations.

“For now we are just hoping that police will make an arrest soon. Since the last article in The Witness the police have stepped up and we are getting updates.

“We have hope that my mother’s killers will be caught one day so we can find closure.”


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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