A Grade 6 learner from a primary school in Katlehong, Ekurhuleni — who was shot in the crossfire between two rival taxi associations — has died.
The 12-year-old girl from Mogobeng primary school was hit by a stray bullet outside Izibuko primary school, where she had gone to meet a friend. She was rushed to Bertha Gxowa hospital were she died from her injuries on Thursday morning.
Steve Mabona, the spokesperson of the Gauteng department of education, said in a statement that an elderly man who was also at the school to fetch his two grandchildren was also killed in the melee.
Speaking at Izibuko primary school on Thursday, Panyaza Lesufi — the Gauteng MEC for education — said it was painful that a violent seed has been planted in the minds of children and that they will never forget what happened. Lesufi said the department will offer counselling to both schools and hopes this will minimise the pain. The department will also offer the necessary help to both families, he said.
“But the reality is that this is a photograph in their mind that they will never forget.”
Lesufi said there is an urgent need for society to respond to this “brutality” saying human life is “literally becoming cheap every moment”.
He welcomed a decision by Gauteng Premier David Makhura to appoint a retired judge to chair a commission of inquiry into taxi violence in the province.
“We are hopeful that those who have done this deed their names will be mentioned in that commission and the family will have closure and they will know why this thing has happened,” Lesufi said.
On Sunday, Makhura announced the establishment of the inquiry — to be chaired by Justice Jeremiah Buti Shongwe — to investigate the underlying causes of the ongoing killings in the taxi industry and those who are behind it.
This comes after a spate of taxi violence in the province primarily around Soweto where the operation of taxis in some parts of the township was suspended for months this year because of the taxi association rivalry.
Lesufi called on the police to make arrests for the killings within the next 72 hours.
“If you can’t arrest them you risk rendering our country as lawless…Those that are responsible for this deed must know that they can run, they can hide but we will find them and when we find them the law will be merciless towards them,” Lesufi said.
In a tweet on Thursday morning, Mogobeng primary school said the grade 6 learner was bright and will be forever be missed.