One Western Cape pupil has died and another is in a critical condition after separate stabbing incidents at or near their schools this week, which has left the provincial education department in shock.
In the first incident, a Grade 9 pupil from Sinako Secondary School in Khayelitsha was stabbed during interval, said Jessica Shelver, spokesperson for Education MEC Debbie Schafer.
She said the pupil was rushed to hospital.
Initially, it was thought the pupil had died. But in a correction statement, the department said it was informed on Thursday morning that the pupil was alive, but in a critical condition.
Provincial police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk said the stabbing happened around noon on Monday.
"It was alleged that the suspect, who is a former student at the same school, managed to gain entry at the school and went straight to the victim and stabbed him several times on his upper body," he said.
The 19-year-old suspect was arrested and will appear in the Khayelitsha Magistrate's Court on Thursday.
Van Wyk said two others – an 18-year-old and 19-year-old – had been arrested on Thursday morning.
They were expected to appear in court once charged.
Counselling for pupils, teachers
In a separate incident on Wednesday, Shelver said a Grade 8 pupil at Stellenzicht Secondary School in Stellenbosch was stabbed after leaving the school premises during a break.
"The learner reportedly ran onto the school premises, where he sadly succumbed to his wounds. The learners at the school are reportedly extremely traumatised by the incident," Shelver said.
Police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana confirmed that the 13-year-old was stabbed and killed outside the high school on Wednesday morning.
"Three juveniles were arrested and are being processed," she said.
Counselling was being provided for pupils and teachers at both schools.
Schafer said: "This is a critical period for all learners of the Western Cape as they begin to prepare for their final examinations. We ask that parents and communities support our youth and encourage positive behaviour, both within school and outside school."
She said violence was never the answer.
Learners requiring any support in this regard, can call the Safe Schools Hotline on 0800 45 46 47 for psychological support, as well as advice on how to manage conflict situations at their school.