The Mpumalanga Education Department has called on members of the public in Daantjie, east of Mbombela, to assist police with information that may lead to the arrest of suspects, who murdered Philemon Zitha, a security guard at Sibambisene Primary School.
The suspects broke into the school’s store room, and stole laptops worth over R40 000.
The 51-year-old Zitha has been employed as a security guard at the school since 2019.
Zitha was one of three security personnel employed at the school.
On Friday, he reported for duty for night shift. It was to be his day at work. He was murdered and thrown inside one of the classrooms.
His lifeless body was discovered by one of his colleagues in the morning.
Family Spokesperson, Albert Mathosi, says they are shattered.
“We want the justice to take its course in this matter and ensure that the suspects are apprehended because that would make the family relieved from this situation. We are also thankful of the support we are getting from the school and the department since this incident occurred.”
Mpumalanga police have confirmed that a murder and theft case is being investigated.
Provincial Police Spokesperson, Donald Mdhuli says preliminary investigations suggest that the suspects gained entry through the ceiling.
“Jeffrey Zitha, aged 51, who was working as a security guard was unfortunately shot and killed during the incident in which laptops were stolen. Reports indicate the police at Pienaar as well as medical personnel were informed about the incident where upon arrival the man was certified dead by the paramedics. A murder case was opened and the investigation began with the launch of the manhunt for the suspects.”
This is the third security guard to be killed at schools within two years.
Education MEC, Bonakele Majuba has condemned the incidents and says schools should be protected by community members.
“It makes it very important that communities again will have to come to the space and assist in making sure that we stop this brutal killing of innocent lives by these criminals. Schools belong to communities and we are going to appeal further to communities that let us intensify our unity of protecting our schools.”
Zitha leaves behind six children and his sister. He will be laid to rest on Thursday.0