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Tragedy at Moedwil Combined School: Kitchen Manager Dies in Distressing Incident

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Mazhar Abbas
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Tragedy at Moedwil Combined School: Kitchen Manager Dies in Distressing Incident

In a tragic incident that has sent shockwaves through the educational community in Swartruggens, North West, kitchen manager Michael Mokhethi of Moedwil Combined School lost his life under distressing circumstances. Mokhethi's untimely demise allegedly followed an assault by a student and the accidental discharge of a fire extinguisher, the chemicals from which he inhaled leading to a fatal asthma attack.

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The Incident Unfolds

According to the accounts of the kitchen staff, the incident took place in the school's dining hall, a space that should symbolize safety and nourishment. Instead, it became a scene of terror and confusion after a fire extinguisher was discharged. Amidst the ensuing chaos, Mokhethi, who had asthma, inhaled the chemicals and suffered a severe attack. He collapsed and, despite attempts to revive him, tragically succumbed.

A History of Threats

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The kitchen staff members have indicated that this was not the first time they had been threatened by students. They expressed their feelings of vulnerability and insecurity, citing a lack of support and inadequate presence from the teaching staff during the incident. The staff's concerns raise serious questions about the overall environment and safety measures in place at the school.

Investigation and Aftermath

The School Governing Body member, Elsie Williams, voiced her dismay regarding the incident, expressing concern about not being notified by the school and the conspicuous absence of teachers, including the principal, at the time of the event. The Department of Education has since intervened, sending a senior delegation to investigate the matter and condemning the behaviour of the learners involved. Two Grade 12 students suspected of involvement in the incident have been detained by the South African Police Service (SAPS), charged with common assault, and an inquest docket awaits the post-mortem results.

In the wake of this tragic incident, it is crucial that the school, the governing body, and the Department of Education take stringent measures to ensure the safety of all staff members and students, and to prevent such incidents from recurring in the future.

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