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Teachers' unions criticise Education Dept for not protecting teachers

A 17-year-old pupil from a Zeerust school in the North West was arrested on Thursday for allegedly stabbing his teacher, Gadimang Mokolobate, to death.

Picture: freeimages.com

JOHANNESBURG - Teachers' union Sadtu is calling on the Basic Education Department to ensure the safety of teachers at schools and strong action against a North West pupil who allegedly stabbed his teacher to death.

A 17-year-old pupil from a Zeerust school in the North West was arrested on Thursday for allegedly stabbing his teacher, Gadimang Mokolobate, to death.

It's alleged that Mokolobate reprimanded the grade 10 pupil for jumping the queue while receiving food. He returned to school with a knife yesterday.

The Basic Education Department's Elijah Mhlanga explains: "When the teacher warned him against doing that, he took it personally. He went home, slept on it, came to school yesterday morning, late, went into the classroom, where he approached the teacher and stabbed him. He then ran out of the classroom but he was caught by the security guard."

The teacher had been teaching for less than three years.

Another union, Naptosa, has also criticised the department, saying that it isn't doing enough to protect teachers against abuse from pupils at schools.

The union's Basil Manuel: "The Education Department needs to take the issue of discipline for more seriously. There is no protection for the teacher after the fact. After you have complained, you go back in and very often the same youngster is back in your class as the hero, not as the perpetrator."

However, Mhlanga says that it is not the time to point fingers.

"You are in a difficult position as you end up being a guardian as opposed to being a teacher, that's why we think that parents need to know what their children are carrying [sic]. In this case, the learner in the North West did not go to school on time, in fact, he was going much later and the parents were there and asking him why are you not going to school as per normal. He said that he'll go to school at about 11 [am] when he knew that that was the time that he was going to stab the teacher at school."

Meanwhile, in Gauteng a 15-year-old boy from an Eldorado Park secondary school will be appearing in court on Friday after he pointed a gun at his teacher earlier this week.

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