11 June 2019
A teacher was shot dead inside the school premises of Masuku Primary School in Folweni, south of Durban, on Tuesday morning.
Sibonakaliso Nyawose, 48, was a head of department, teaching Mathematics in Grade 7. He had been at the school for the past four years and had over 20 years of teaching experience.
A witness, who asked not to be named for safety reasons, told GroundUp that the shooting took place around 9am, a few minutes after the deceased arrived at school.
The witness said “an unsuspicious-looking man entered the school gate that was not locked” and followed Nyawose who had just arrived in his car. “We then heard several gunshots.” The man suspected of shooting the teacher then walked out of the school grounds. He got into a getaway car with a driver waiting in it, parked a few metres away from the school.
A teacher, who asked not to be named, said a senior staff member had been suspended from the school in January after he “he started being aggressive towards everyone including teachers”. The teacher said the senior staff member had been coming onto school premises with a gun and threatening teachers and the School Governing Body (SGB) before he was suspended.
“Nine teachers asked the department to allow them to stop coming to the school and report at the circuit office instead because they felt less safe,” said the source.
But after a month the teachers returned to teaching. The threats continued, said the source.
Brother of the deceased, Muzi Magwaza, said they were still in shock. He said his brother had never hinted that his life was in danger.
A parent at the school, Ntombi Zondi, called on the education department and the police to act, because parents now feared for the lives of their children.
“We know that it has nothing to do with our kids, but we are fearful that they might end up caught in crossfire,” said Zondi.
MEC for Education in KwaZulu-Natal Kwazi Mshengu said, “This is the most painful news I have had to deal with since assuming office. On behalf of the entire education fraternity, I wish to send heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Nyawose.”
He said the suspect had gained unauthorised access to the school premises. “This is beside the fact that the school does have a security guard officially employed by the Department of Education. ” said Mshengu.
KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele confirmed that a case of murder had been opened for investigation by Folweni SAPS.
“A 48-year-old man was shot and killed inside the school premises at Folweni by unknown suspect. The victim was declared dead at the scene. The circumstances surrounding the incident are being investigated,” said Mbele.