Durban – Enraged community members from Dassenhoek, west of Durban, argued with police officials on Thursday, demanding to serve mob justice to the two suspects allegedly involved in a school robbery where four learners were stabbed.
This, after learners from Dassenhoek High School were robbed and assaulted by three suspects during school hours on Wednesday morning, the Department of Education confirmed.
Four learners were stabbed, according to school staff. Two have been discharged from hospital while the other two suffered internal bleeding and are still hospitalised. The suspects also got away with cash and cellphones.
KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Education, Kwazi Mshengu, visited the school on Thursday to assess the situation and try to bring calm to an angered community.
Policenhave apprehended two suspects connected to the incident that took place in Dassenhoek highschool on Wednesday. Enraged community members want to deal with the suspects themselves.@IOL pic.twitter.com/dPI4Y15XMw— Jehran Daniel (@JehranD) January 27, 2022
Mshengu said it was unfortunate he had to visit the school for such an incident. Mshengu said it was not the fault of teachers for what happened, but community members who let “these thugs” run rampant.
Mshengu said the community members should join the police and “hunt down the suspects”.
“We are concerned about how our communities have actually broken apart to an extent that things that we experience in our schools are actually things that we should be fighting and winning them as communities,” Mshengu said.
The security guard on duty at the time of the incident, Cyril Mthembu, told IOL on Thursday that the suspects entered the school through a break in the fence. Mthembu said the incident happened during the lunch break.
The Security guard at Dassenhoek highschool, Cyril Mthembu, shows where the suspects gained entry and proceeded to rob and stab four learners. Mthembu was the only guard on duty when the incident took place.— Jehran Daniel (@JehranD) January 27, 2022
@IOL #education pic.twitter.com/7xaG9CocmM
School staff say that at any given time, there are two security guards on duty, but on Wednesday there was one. The other security guard went to receive his vaccine, staff members told Mshengu during a briefing of the incident.
It was further revealed that two of the suspects involved were former learners at the school, while the other suspect is a learner from a neighbouring high school.
One suspect was apprehended on Wednesday while the other two were arrested on Thursday. Police brought the two remaining suspects outside the school while Mshengu and the rest of the government delegation, learners, parents and staff were present.
The crowd of people quickly left the MEC to go see the suspects, which is when things took a turn for the worse. An argument ensued between community members and police.
Community members attempted to open the back of the police van where the suspects were to serve them a helping of mob justice.
One of the mothers of a learner who was stabbed, said she was extremely angry and wanted to stab the suspects herself.
Another learner who was attacked and had visible injuries on his eyes and lips, Kgotsofalang Selai, said he and two other people tried to fend off the perpetrators and were attacked.
Selai said he wanted the suspects to be arrested because he was scared they might return.
“There were three of us sitting behind a toilet inside the premises when these guys came in to rob us. They were carrying guns and knives. They beat us up and stabbed us before they took my phone.
“There was an altercation because we tried to fight them. One of them hit me with the back of the gun and busted my lip. They said I tried fighting, they would get me,” Selai told IOL.
Selai’s guardian, Phindi Nyati, who attended the MEC’s briefing because his mother was at work, said she wanted to see the government do something about the incident.
“There have been a lot of similar incidents around this area and our schools. Our children are not safe. I am scared these guys will do something to him because he fought them. Their threats to him don’t put me at ease,” Nyathi said.