‘Our teachers live in fear’
Northern Cape village reeling after pupil kills teacher for failing him
The murder of a Northern Cape teacher, who was stabbed to death by a 15-year-old pupil, has sparked calls for increased security at schools.
Bosele Middle School teacher Kingstone Vhiya, 45, was killed at his home in Manyeding Village near Kuruman on January 13, after the Grade 8 pupil accused him of failing him.
The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) in the province said the incident had highlighted their repeated calls for increased security - including a "safety allowance" for teachers.
"Attacks on teachers are becoming the norm, not only in this province but throughout the country. A large number of teachers live in fear and this affects their performance. As a society we urgently need to take a stand against this trend,” said Sadtu provincial secretary Fikile Ntathu.He said schools also needed better security as there were still instances where people could easily enter a school yard and confront a teacher.
On January 19, another Northern Cape teacher was assaulted by a pupil.
Delportshoop Hoërskool teacher Nkululeko Qalinga claims he was punched by a pupil at the school in full view of other pupils and parents.
“I was attacked by a pupil from a neighbouring school as they were protesting at our school. The boy punched me in the face as I tried to stop them from vandalising our school.
“I have reported the matter to the police. Other female teachers were also manhandled by these pupils. I am frustrated, depressed and angry,” said Qalinga.
But Northern Cape education department spokesperson Geoffrey van der Merwe denied teachers were under threat.
“We condemn the Manyeding incident in the strongest terms. This has never happened before in our province but we are aware of rumours that there might be growing tension in the village. Hence we have engaged with law enforcement agencies to increase visibility around schools,” he said.
Vhiya’s family told Times Select they had accepted his death, but wanted the pupil to receive a lengthy prison term.
Family spokesperson Themba Mnguni said the family, which hails from Zimbabwe, had financially depended on Vhiya.
“The Bible instructs us to forgive those who have wronged us.“We pray every day. It helps us. The law must take its action. The boy must stay in jail. They must not release him because if we see him around it will be very painful," said Mnguni.
The teenager appeared in the Mothibistad Magistrate’s Court on January 25 and has been charged with murder.
He is being kept at a place of safety.
His family offered R4,000 towards Vhiya’s funeral arrangements but the offer was rejected.
The pupil’s aunt said: “It is very unfortunate that the Vhiya family view us as their enemy. What has happened has brought a lot of pain to both families."
She said the teen “lacked discipline”.
“He is a troublesome child who needs a disciplined father figure. We’ve had incidents were he stole items from our house. Some family members have tried to discipline him without success. But we never imagined he would kill someone. We are shocked and disappointed.”