A KwaZulu-Natal teacher has been arrested and has appeared in the Emanguzi Magistrate's Court for the alleged kidnapping and murder of a 12-year-old pupil, police said on Thursday.
The teacher, 28-year-old Sanele Ngubane, is alleged to have arranged a meeting with pupil Lwazi Tembe from Thengane Reserve last month. The matter was postponed until November 6 for Ngubane's bail consideration.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker said Lwazi had left home on September 30 to visit the teacher "who had asked to assist him with his schoolwork".
"At about 14:00, his mother phoned Lwazi, but his phone went straight to voicemail. She then contacted the teacher who denied ever inviting Lwazi for a visit or communicating with him."
Naicker said the distraught mother reported the matter to police on October 2 and a case of kidnapping was opened at the Emanguzi police station and transferred to the Jozini family violence, child protection and sexual offences unit for investigation.
"Following an intensive investigation, evidence emerged linking the teacher to Lwazi's disappearance. On Wednesday night, the unit arrested the 33-year-old teacher for murder and kidnapping. Lwazi's body was discovered in a shallow grave on a sportsfield in Emanguzi."
Acting provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Khombinkosi Jula said it was "disheartening when the people who are trusted by our youth are the same people harming them".
"We believe the law will take its course because there is no one who is above the law. We hope and believe that the suspect will get what he deserves."