Six men will appear in the Greytown Magistrate’s Court for the murder of Somashi High School principal Mzweleni Zuma (46), who was shot in full view of teachers and pupils on Friday.
He was described as intelligent and resilient by parents on Sunday and his death has been described as a huge loss to uMzinyathi District and the teaching fraternity.
Spokesperson for the school governing body Mhawu Mbatha told The Witness that Zuma played an instrumental role in shaping the future of the school.
“He was a wise man who have helped many children coming from previously disadvantaged communities to have a bright future. As the community we have lost an intelligent man who has promoted the values of change to the school.
“We call upon the Education Department to deploy at least two or three security guards that will work shifts at the school. A security guard who is stationed at the school was off duty when the incident happened. Zuma’s departure will have a negative impact to the performance of the pupils at school. He was an influencer of change in our community,” Mbatha said.
Another parent echoed Mbatha’s words, calling on the police to intensify patrols in the area.
Family spokesperson Sukeyithathe Zuma they were still trying to come to the terms with the tragedy.
He applauded the police for their swift action in arresting the six suspects linked to his brother’s murder.
“A car that the killers were driving overturned a few kilometres away from the scene. My brother was not a violent man. As the family we would like to dismiss previous media reports that revealed that he had armed bodyguards. If he had bodyguards as the media reported, why was it so easy for the armed men to walk freely into the school premises and kill him?”
KZN police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker said the suspects hijacked a teacher who was on her way home and fled in her vehicle.
“Police intercepted the vehicle at KwaDolo Reserve in Greytown and six men were arrested. Police seized an R5 rifle, two revolvers and 65 rounds of ammunition as well as eight cellphones and the hijacked vehicle. Six men aged between 26 and 38 will be charged for murder and carjacking as well as illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. The firearms will be subjected to ballistic tests to determine whether they were used in other criminal cases,” Naicker said.
KZN Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu said in statement: “As the KZN Education Department we strongly condemn this barbaric act as school principals are regarded as mentors and guardians to [pupils]. We maintain a tough stance towards any form of violent crime in our education system.”
The Democratic Alliance called on the Education Department to ensure that teachers and pupils are safe at schools.
KZN DA spokesperson on education Dr Imran Keeka MPL said: “We remain concerned that the hastily launched School Safety Programme (SSP) — a quick fix — is fast showing how useless it is at ensuring the safety of our children, [teachers] and staff in schools. This SSP needs a complete overhaul including a proper funding model and plan — something that is not there currently.
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“The MEC must take full responsibility for every failure of this programme and must account for why he is sitting on his hands. His department’s expressions of condolences and concern can only be viewed as half-hearted unless we see concrete steps emanating from him and his HOD, Dr [Enock] Nzama.”
In another school shooting on Friday, a 26-year-old woman was shot and killed on school premises at the Vumbu Reserve in Maphumulo. She had been appointed as a Covid compliance officer. “The suspects fled the scene and police were alerted. Police chased the suspects together with assistance of the community,” said Brigadier Naicker.
Two men, who were armed with a shotgun and a knife, were intercepted in a forest by police officers. “One man was shot and fatally wounded during the skirmish whilst the other man was arrested. Police seized a shotgun and ammunition, as well as a knife. The suspect will be charged for murder, attempted murder as well as illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition,” said Naicker. The man will appear at the Maphumulo Magistrate’s Court soon.