Police hunt more suspects for Mathebula’s murder

Police officials at the scene of the stabbing of a Mondeor High school pupil. PHOTO: ANA

The Western Cape has recorded 17 school-stabbings in the first term of 2019.

Police are looking for more suspects linked to the murder of 19-year-old Kulani Mathebula who died on his way to Mondeor High School, south of Johannesburg, on Wednesday. Three teenagers have been arrested and are expected to appear in the Johannesburg Magistrate Court this morning.

Provincial police spokesperson Kay Makhubela said the trio was arrested in Soweto and Naturena and would appear in court facing murder charges. Police were continuing with investigations to probe if there were more suspects that could be implicated in Mathebula’s murder.

“We [still] think that it was a robbery, but we are also looking at other people that were involved other than the three arrested.”

He said police were not in a position to identify the school from which one of the suspects, a thirteen-year-old, was arrested on Wednesday.

Mathebula was stabbed to death while on his way to school on Wednesday. Paramedics confirmed a stab wound to the chest.

A video which captured the attack and was handed to police is believed to have aided police in identifying the trio appearing in court.

Mathebula’s grieving peers staged a march on Thursday, calling for justice for the slain teen and protection from the allegedly dangerous pupils who they said victimised them on a daily basis.

Meanwhile, department of education officials and student leadership at Mondeor High school were attending the memorial service for Mathebula held at high school, while some pupils were writing their term exams.

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has praised the police’s swift action in arresting the trio, but lamented the tragedy of handing over a dead body to a parent.

Violence in schools has been on an increase and the director of communications at the Western Cape department of education, Bronagh Hammond, said the problem was that violence was happening all across the country. Speaking on radio talk show 702, she mentioned 17 stabbings were reported in schools in the first term of 2019 in the Western Cape.

“We can put all the safety measures in place that we want, but learners find means and ways to get that knife into the school.”

The Western Cape department was trying its best to put in security measures with various programs to send a message on the value of life to pupils.

“It is traumatising, not only the incidents of stabbing, we’ve had incidents of violence against teachers and we are trying to address that as much as we can.”

(Compiled by Gopolang Chawane)

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