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Catholic Entity in South Africa “deeply concerned about” Violence on Teachers, Learners

Logo of the Catholic Institute of Education (CIE) in South Africa. Credit: Catholic Institute of Education (CIE)

Officials of the Catholic Institute of Education (CIE) have expressed concern about brutal attacks on learning institutions, learners, and the staff in South Africa.

“The Catholic Institute of Education is deeply concerned about the increasing violent attacks on schools, principals, teachers and learners,” CIE officials say in a Tuesday, February 8 statement in reference to reports of increased violence in institutions of learning in South Africa in recent weeks. 

Officials of the department of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) highlight a recent case where the Principal of the Mariatrost Junior Primary School and his wife were killed at their home in St. Faith's Mission village, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).

The murder of the Mariatrost Junior Primary School official and his wife happened days after four learners were stabbed during an armed robbery at Dassenhoek High School in Pinetown, KZN. 

“The loss of any life is a tragedy and for the Mariatrost Junior Primary School, the Catholic Education network and the community at St. Faith's Mission, the death of our principal and servant of Christ is irreparable,” CIE officials say.

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Gugulethu Sijadu (55) and his wife, Thembelihle (45), were reportedly shot and killed by unknown gunmen.

In a February 7 report, KZN provincial police was quoted as saying that unknown gunmen entered the principal’s house through a window and shot the couple on February 4 night, just after 10 pm.

“The motive for the killing is unknown. Charges of murder are being investigated by St. Faiths SAPS,” KZN police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Nqobile Gwala has been quoted as saying. 

The killing of the school Principal has been condemned by various quarters including the Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Education in KZN, Kwazi Mshengu, who described the incident as a “cowardly murder.”

Mr. Mshengu called for speedy investigations into the killings and to ensure that the perpetrators of the crime are brought to book.

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In their February 8 statement, CIE officials “welcome the statement from the MEC for Education in KZN and join in the call for those who are responsible to be found so we can begin the journey towards restoring justice.”