By Jonk wa Mashamba
The MEC for Education in Gauteng, Panyaza Lesufi, on Friday, 18 June 2021, praised the thorough work the police were doing in investigating the horrific murder of the principal of Buyani Primary School in Finetown.
Lesufi further implored law enforcement agencies to work with speed to ensure that Gauteng schools do not become ‘killing fields’.
“We must not allow our schools to be killings fields; the law enforcement agencies must protect us,” Lesufi said while on a visit to the school, where he met with the school management and the family of the slain educator.
Principal Lazarous Baloyi (53) was fatally shot at the school on Friday morning by an unknown assailant.
“I want to extend my sincere condolences to the family, the school leadership, the District – and most importantly, the teacher union, because the late principal was the chairperson of the branch of the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) in the area,” the Lesufi, who had the opportunity to view the footage of the crime, said.
The MEC, who called the murder barbaric, confirmed that the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) would be assisting the police with key information such as the footage of the shooting and correspondence sent in March 2021 to his office complaining about issues at the school.
Further, the Psycho-Social Unit has been dispatched to support to the family, learners at the school and colleagues of the late principal. The Unit today met with the teachers and will engage with the learners on Monday 21 June 2021.
Lesufi added that he was extremely concerned about the rising number of killings of educators in the area.
“It is becoming the norm to visit families and tell them that somebody who left (them) to come to our schools has been permanently removed. This is the third case that I am attending to – in this area alone – where our principals are targeted,” Lesufi said, calling for more help from the police in making schools safer.
“We urge the police to, when doing their normal patrols, pay more attention to schools,” he said.
Lesufi said budgetary constraints have meant that most schools could not afford armed guards and relied mainly on volunteers for security; something which was not ideal.
Pics supplied by MEC Lesufi’s office