"South Africa School Shooting: Pupil Arrested for Shooting Headteacher May Face Trial as Adult"

A 13-year-old schoolboy in South Africa has been arrested after allegedly shooting and injuring his principal. The prosecuting authority has stated that he may be tried as an adult.

The boy, who remains unnamed, has been charged with attempted murder. His alleged 51-year-old victim is currently recovering in intensive care at a hospital. The shooting has shocked many in South Africa, where there is growing concern over school violence.

The pupil allegedly used his father’s gun in Friday’s shooting at a primary school in Germiston, east of Johannesburg. The father has also been arrested on suspicion of negligence related to a firearm and was expected to appear in court on Tuesday, according to a police spokesperson, Col Dimakatso Nevhuhulwi.

During a visit to the school on Monday, Gauteng province’s Education Minister, Matome Chiloane, alleged that the boy had drawn up a “hitlist” of three teachers “who were giving him problems in school.” He added, “As we interviewed his friends, they said this thing has been planned for a while. Apparently, they had a WhatsApp group where they were communicating and planning this gruesome event.”

Chiloane alleged that the pupil had taken bullets to the school on a previous occasion. Neither the boy nor his father has commented on the allegations.

Under South Africa’s Child Justice Act, a 12- or 13-year-old is presumed not to have “criminal capacity” unless the state can prove otherwise. In this case, following a request from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), a magistrate has ordered a report into the boy’s ability to discern right from wrong, as well as an assessment of his cognitive, moral, emotional, psychological, and social development. The magistrate will then decide whether he can be tried as an adult.


The NPA spokesperson, Phindi Mjonondwane, said that this process is being undertaken to determine the appropriate way to proceed with the case.

Pretty Ndlovu, a senior social worker at the National Children and Violence Trust charity, expressed concern about the prevalence of gun crimes in the country and their impact on children. She said, “We are going through a lot as people, and there is often fighting in the home, which can lead to anger issues in a child. No child can wake up and carry a gun. Where are we as parents and educators? Why are we not monitoring our children? We are losing a generation.”

Chiloane stated that regardless of the legal outcome, the alleged perpetrator would have to “undergo stringent rehabilitation” before being allowed back into the education system.

Safety in schools has been a major concern in Gauteng, the province with the largest population in South Africa and its economic heartland. The shooting comes weeks after a student was stabbed to death and another injured at a secondary school south of Johannesburg. Chiloane promised to increase security at schools across the province after that incident.

Gauteng’s Premier, Panyaza Lesufi, announced on Monday that “selected high-risk schools” identified by the Department of Education are being monitored via CCTV cameras.

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Piers Potter


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