'All he wanted was to have a bright future' - brother of slain Sedibeng pupil
The presence of initiation gangs at schools and pupils' practice of carrying weapons are issues which school governing bodies in Sedibeng, Gauteng, are trying to tackle after a Grade 10 pupil was killed at a school in Evaton this week.
Mohau Thinane, 18, was stabbed to death at Tokelo Secondary School on Tuesday morning. A 14-year-old Grade 9 pupil allegedly killed him after an altercation over a cellphone.
David Nyembe, the regional secretary of the National Association of School Governing Bodies in Sedibeng, condemned the incident.
"We are dealing with problems of pupils who bring weapons to schools. Some of them belong to initiation school gangs and would bring their fights to schools.
"There are some pupils who would also bring weapons to schools [because they fear] bullying and abuse from their peers. However, we have launched programmes in the region where we are tackling the problem of gangsterism and dangerous weapons," Nyembe said.
He said Thinane's death, although isolated, disturbed them.
"Teaching and learning premises are meant to be a place where all learners come and enjoy their studies and mostly, enjoy being children. Violence in schools these days is increasingly worrying. In this day and age, schools have been turned into battlefields and war zones, which… is something alien and foreign.
"The carrying and bringing of weapons onto school premises is something that we view as criminal and it should be condemned…No amount of provocation or anger should justify taking the life of another person," said Nyembe.
Pupils at the school said the 14-year-old was accompanied by a group of teenagers who waited outside the school premises.
"He knew that the deceased was going to confront him about a phone belonging to Mohau's friend that he allegedly stole," said a pupil, who can't be identified.
He claimed one of the boys gave the teen a knife.
"Mohau tried to run away, but he fell and collapsed outside the staff room where he died. Teachers took the suspect to the staffroom where he was later arrested," the pupil added.
Thinane's brother, Mpho Thinane, 33, has asked that the teen be refused bail.
"I don't know what will happen should the court release him. We didn't know that one day a knife will end [my brother's] life.
'"He was a sweet boy who respected his elders. He never complained to us at home that he was being bullied in school. All he wanted was to have a bright future and live his life to the fullest. We are sad and grieving and demand justice," he said.
Police spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo said the teen was expected to appear in the Sebokeng Magistrate's Court on Thursday on a charge of murder.
Meanwhile, the Gauteng Department of Education has dispatched officials from its psycho-social unit to offer counselling services to pupils, teachers and everyone affected by the incident.