Durban – Parents and pupils at Masakhaneni High School in KwaMakhutha where two pupils were killed last week during factional fighting clashes claim that conflict stems from some pupils being robbed for their cellphones by fellow pupils.
On Monday, MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Mxolisi Kaunda, and Education MEC Mthandeni Dlungwana met with parents and pupils at the school and urged them not to allow their children to take cellphone with them to school – which was against school policy.
The meeting comes exactly one week after the school was closed following the death of two pupils – Mangaliso Mbatha, 18, and Sihle Mngadi, 20 – who were stabbed to death when they tried to separate pupils fighting.
It is alleged that the school has been in chaos since February after the Department of Education suspended 17 teachers over allegations that they sold marijuana to pupils at the school.
It is alleged that the stabbing incident last Monday follows a fight over a cellphone the previous Friday, which ended with one pupil being injured in the face.
Community members on Monday packed a huge marquee at the school in an attempt to find solutions to the ongoing problems.
While some parents who spoke to the Daily News said they were not aware that their children took cellphones to school, some said they allowed their children to take their cellphones to school for communication purposes.
One parent said her daughter was almost killed recently when she was robbed for her cellphone after returning home from late evening extra classes, allegedly by boys at the school.
“These incidents of robberies has been ignored for too long by the school. We are not surprised that two children ended up losing their lives,” said the parent.
Mbatha’s aunt who spoke on behalf of the family questioned why was security not beefed up on Monday after the Friday incident.
“Our children have unfortunately become a sacrifice. We are hoping that their deaths will not be in vain. Let us find solutions that will end bloodshed at the school,” she said.
Ntombifuthi Khuzwayo said following an incident in which her son was injured over his cellphone on the previous Friday had left the family living in fear as their home had also been attacked by mobs of youth who broke their windows.
“We now live in fear. All I know is that the issue started over my son’s cellphone. I would like to apologise for what happened to those who lost their lives. To those who are attacking my family, please forgive us, we as a family do not know about the things that happen at school,” said Khuzwayo.
Addressing the community Kaunda said parents should make sure that cellphones remain at home.
“This school need to make strict rules about cellphones at school.
Cellphones interfere with learning in the classroom, we have seen that they are the major problem perpetuating crime at this school,” said Kaunda.
He encouraged members of the public to report illegal firearms in their communities. Daily News