Security has been temporarily beefed up at Heinz Park Primary School in Philippi, Cape Town, where two suspects are still at large after allegedly killing a grade six teacher.
The 53-year old Thulani Manqoyi was killed on Tuesday morning while sitting in his car on the premises of the school in the gang-riddled community of Heinz Park on the Cape Flats.
On Wednesday, parents and some community workers stood outside the barred gate at the school while inside the perimeter, stricken teachers received counseling.
A witness to the shooting, Connie (who requested that her surname be withheld for safety reasons), said she had heard two gunshots fired while walking some children to school.
“We heard the shots and children were still coming [to school] so we had to run,” Connie said, adding that most of the learners were traumatised by the incident. “Still today, we have children coming in crying.”
She said she and a colleague afterwards saw two people walking away “casually, but you could see in a bit of a haste”. Both the suspects’ faces were covered.
Manqoyi was described as a loving father figure to the children at the school, where he worked for more than 10 years.
He would often help children after school hours with work they were struggling to grasp, Connie said, adding that she did not believe his murder was linked to the gangsterism that is rife in the area.
“This is something that was like a hit. They came for the teacher. Other people were sitting in their cars and nothing happened to them,” she said.
Police spokesperson Colonel André Traut said on Wednesday the circumstances surrounding the murder “are still under investigation and the suspects are yet to be arrested”.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has condemned the killing.
“The number of violent crimes taking place against our teachers, in schools or anywhere else in the community is quite disturbing,” she said in a statement.
“We condemn any form of violence in our schools. We are working with the police to ensure the safety of our teachers, learners and the entire school community against criminals who continue to terrorise them in a safe environment.”
A memorial service for Manqoyi will be hosted at the school after arrangements have been made with his family.