The family of North West school teacher, Gadimang Mokolobate, have finally spoken out following the stabbing of their son, allegedly by a learner at Ramotshere Moiloa Secondary school, near Zeerust. This is as the family is preparing to bury the 24-year-old teacher at his home village of Ramatlabama, outside Mahikeng.
The country, including the education sector, were left reeling in shock following the tragedy. Mokolobate had been teaching at the school for two years, when he met his untimely death.
The 17-year-old learner, who allegedly stabbed him, has been taken to a place of safety. The family says they were shocked by the untimely death of their loved one. He was also their breadwinner.
“As it was mentioned, we have been receiving assistance from all sides, we are comforted and things are running smoothly. God in his word said we are all going to die one day and in different ways. God has chosen him, this flower. It clearly tells you that God has made his choice. This does not only end here, it affects all of us in the country,” says his father, Samuel Mokolobate.
The Executive Director of the Teachers Union, the National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa, Basil Manuel, says the conditions that teachers find themselves in at schools are frustrating them.
“There seems to be no plan and it’s really sad, somebody as young as Gadimang would have his life taken away by an ill-disciplined learner and there are hundreds like him that are living in fear, that are very concerned about their lives and safety.”
Another teachers’ union, the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu), in the North West, says the scourge of violence in schools can be detrimental to the education system if not curbed.
“This is creating a shock to all of us but again also people start asking whether or not it is safe for them to join the teaching profession. We are saying indeed as stakeholders we really need to address this particular challenge,” says Provincial Secretary, Els Themba.
Gadimang Mokolobate will be buried on Saturday at Miga section, in Ramatlabama village, near Mahikeng.
Meanwhile, MEC for Education in Gauteng, Panyaza Lesufi has lashed out at learners who abuse their educators. This comes in light of a number of incidents where teachers have been physically attacked, at least one fatally, by pupils in school.
Lesufi was addressing mourners in a crowded church in Katlehong who attended the funeral service of two siblings, Sabelo and Sanele Mbatha.
The siblings fell ill at their school in Ekurhuleni last week and passed on later that day. They were laid to rest Friday.
Lesufi says the Department is saddened by this loss as well as concerned about learners attacking teachers. “Yesterday (Thursday), we buried four innocent souls in Alexandra. Today, here we are burying two innocent souls in one week. The entire education space is in pain, the entire education space needs your prayers and your comfort. “
Dyaell Gaetsewe and Zoleka Qodashe