The deaths of learners and a principal has affected schools in Gauteng, reports TimesLIVE.
Since January, there have been 15 learner deaths and four teacher deaths in different incidents in the province.
Sebetsa-O-Tholemoputso High School’s principal Fana Khoele, 54, reportedly collapsed and died at his home on Monday 2 March.
Zweli Dube, a grade 8 learner from the same school was struck by lightning on his way home on Friday and died as a result.
In another incident that occurred in Benoni on Monday, a transport driver was shot while the learners he transported witnessed the tragedy.
Department of education spokesperson Steve Mabona said the incident occurred when the driver was transporting learners from Msholozi informal settlement to their schools.
“The driver had delivered learners to other schools and was completing his last stop at Etwatwa Secondary School in Wattville.
“While seated in the bus, an unknown man approached and shot three times at the bus, with one shot hitting the driver above his right eye. The driver was then rushed to a hospital, where he is receiving medical attention,” said Mabona.
Mabona said the department suspected that the incident occurred due to the on-going tension between the department and the Benoni Taxi Association, as owners were unsatisfied with the department’s provision of transportation for the learners in the area.
“We have called upon the police to assist in securing our learners’ buses and patrolling to be done at drop-off points. We will also explore the facilitation of a community meeting this evening to pave a way forward,” he said.
Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has called for peace in the implementation of the transportation initiative.
“We introduced scholar transport in February 2020 as one of the department’s initiatives to aid learners coming from disadvantaged backgrounds in the area, and as such necessary meetings were held with stakeholders to explain the implementation process accordingly,” Lesufi said.
Mabona said the death of a 13-year-old pupil from Springs Boys’ High School was reported to the department.
The learner allegedly committed suicide at his home on Thursday 27 February.
“The boy stayed with his grandfather and it is unknown why he took a decision to commit suicide. Our psycho-social unit is supporting the school and family with the necessary counselling,” Mabona said.
A grade 9 pupil from Suncrest High School in Vanderbijlpark was hit by a car and was rushed to Union Hospital in Alberton.
“We take this time to send our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and school community. No words are enough to express our sorrow at the loss of a child. We hope that the family will find comfort in the knowledge that we, too, share their loss,” Lesufi said.