- A Grade 10 pupil has died after he was allegedly stabbed by another pupil.
- The pupil was stabbed during a scuffle over a cellphone.
- The education department said these acts of violence in schools were a reflection of what happened in society.
A 19-year-old pupil has died after he was stabbed, allegedly by a fellow pupil over a fracas about a cellphone, in Intabazwe near Harrismith on Thursday.
It's alleged that a Grade 11 pupil went to a class, where he found a group of boys playing with a cellphone. He then grabbed the cellphone and refused to hand it back, police say.
According to Free State police, the suspect took a knife from one of his classmates and allegedly stabbed the pupil once in the chest. The pupil collapsed and died.
Police were called to Lerato uThando high school at approximately 14:10.
"On arrival, they were led to one of the classrooms at the school where the body of a learner was lying in a pool of blood near the door," said police spokesperson Brigadier Motantsi Makhele.
The suspect was arrested for murder.
The provincial education department condemned the incident, saying violence in schools was a societal problem which required everyone to play their part to create a safe schooling environment.
"As a department, we cannot imagine that a learner can conduct himself in such a horrible manner. It's really so unfortunate and heartbreaking. There is nothing that can justify violent conduct and disregard for the safety of other learners," said department spokesperson Howard Ndaba.
He added that the violence in schools required a broad-based effort by the entire community, including teachers, pupils, parents, law enforcement agencies, businesses, and faith-based organisations.
By adopting a comprehensive approach to addressing school safety focusing on prevention, intervention, and response, schools could increase the safety and security of students.
Ndaba conveyed his condolences to the pupil's family.
The department said it would conduct an internal investigation. Counselling would be offered to pupils and teachers.
Ndaba encouraged families of pupils to support their children, by actively ensuring that they were not exposed to dangerous weapons.
The suspect was expected to appear in the Harrismith Magistrate's Court soon, under supervision of his parents.