This is after the shooting and killing of deputy principal Vusi Ntombela – who is also the speaker at the Nquthu municipality – and a grade six pupil inside a classroom at Luvisi Primary School.
Another pupil, who was also wounded during the gunmen’s shooting spree, is said to be recovering in hospital.
Teacher unions said yesterday the provincial department of education has chosen to turn a blind eye to the issues of safety at schools.
National Teachers Union deputy president Allen Thompson said what happened at Luvisi Primary is what teachers and pupils are faced with every day at the hands of criminals.
Every day teachers are robbed of their bags and cell phones while inside the classroom, teaching, he claimed.
“We have discussed the issues of safety and security with the employer for many years, with no transformation whatsoever to make our schools a safe place to teach and learn. Teachers work under life-threatening situations,” he said.
Thompson said it is concerning that at police stations where police officers are armed, there are some security measures – but at schools where teachers are only armed with a chalk, a pen and a book, there is no security at all.
The union had, in the past, suggested the department install metal detectors at each school gate and deploy of a ratio of three security guards for every 300 pupils, “but this has not happened,” Thompson said.
He said in 2008/2009, the department promised to employ security guards after a spate of killing of teachers and pupils in the provinces schools, but even those plans were later abandoned.
Unions’ call to be connected to satellite police stations and have patrols and searches also fell on deaf ears, he said.
Department spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi was not available for comment.