Pupils scared to return

2019-10-18 13:42
A police van enters Eastwood Secondary on Thursday morning.

A police van enters Eastwood Secondary on Thursday morning. ( moeketsi mamane)

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Witnesses to the brutal stabbings at Eastwood Secondary this week are struggling to deal with the trauma.

On Thursday they described the horrific sight of 18-year-old Hershel Fynn drawing his last breath after the gruesome knife attack on him.

The school and residents were shaken to the core when Fynn was stabbed six times outside the school gates and another three pupils hospitalised for stab wounds in various incidents this week. Two were reportedly still in hospital on Thursday.

Residents have labelled it the worst incident the violence-plagued school has ever seen.

Witnesses described how a “mob” gathered around Fynn on Tuesday before stabbing him six times with knives and pangas, and then allegedly turned on those who tried to help him.

Fynn’s friend, Keanon Gouws, who was stabbed alongside him, is one of those who were still in hospital on Thursday.

There was a poor turnout of pupils who arrived at school yesterday when it reopened in the wake of the attacks on Monday and Tuesday. Most pupils were said to be scared to return.

Department of Education officials and school staff were locked in a lengthy meeting at the school yesterday. There was once again a police presence outside the school during the morning rush.

The Witness understands that Fynn was cornered by a group of fellow pupils after he confronted pupils who had allegedly stabbed another girl pupil on Monday. The girl was apparently stabbed after she had pelted her attackers with eggs and other objects during the school’s annual “bombing” ritual — an event which takes place when matrics finish their last day of school. The community has now called for an end to it.

One witness, who did not want to be named, said she had seen a “mob of about 20 people” that included pupils and other people outside the school on Tuesday afternoon before a fight erupted.

“We saw children running away from the area and I saw Hershel fall to the floor. Some children went to call his mom [Natalie Fynn] and people were trying to call the ambulance. A nearby doctor came there and declared him dead. We saw him take his last breath in his mom’s arms.

She said those who tried to help the situation were “chased away”.

“We ran for our lives.”

She added: “I am a mother myself, so to see him [Fynn] slip away like that was a terrible sight.”

Amy Porsche, who works at Mickey’s Preschool which is right next door to Eastwood Secondary, said she noticed a mob standing outside the school that afternoon.

“I went there and told the security guards that it looked like there was going to be a fight. I knew there was going to be a problem because the violence at the school is terrible.”

Porsche said she saw the fight break out and saw Fynn’s bloody body fall to the floor and people running from the area.

“It’s sad to see a child taking his last breath, and I knew Hershel because he used to come to a tuck shop I own to play cards.”

Porsche, whose preschool has been there for more than 20 years, said she has noticed discipline among children in the area becoming worse. “There’s always been drama, but it’s never been this bad, and there’s always trouble coming from the high school.”

Another witness said: “Violence can flare up like this any time. That day was a normal day at the school.

“Children can get into scuffles, but we’ve never seen them using pangas against each other. Hopefully the healing can begin now.”

Police said no arrests have yet been made and investigations are continuing. Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joshua Maistry would not divulge any details. He said anyone with information can call Colonel Phoswa at 079 500 0264.

Witness terrified

A 17-year-old girl who tried to help her fellow pupil when she was stabbed on Monday told The Witness she has been left traumatised and unable to go back to school.

The pupil, who did not want to be named, described how trying to get the injured girl to safety had left her with blood-stained hands.

“I was standing outside the school yard waiting for the other pupils to leave school so we could celebrate our school tradition [bombing],” she said.

She explained that the girl who was stabbed threw a “bomb” with water and flour at them but it missed and hit the ground. “So these boys came to the girl who had tried to bomb them and hit her. She tried to defend herself by pushing the boy. The two boys had knives and one stabbed her and the other one tried to stab her.”

She said she tried to intervene and the boys “told me something so I stopped”. She then helped the girl, who was bleeding at this point into a van, which took her to the hospital.

The terrified girl said she hasn’t spoken to police about the incident and probably won’t for fear of reprisals.

“I am very scared,” she said. “I’m not sure if they saw me, but I saw them.”


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