Violence erupted when black pupils from a Pretoria West school attacked a group from Langenhoven High School on Wednesday, leaving at least four pupils critically injured.
One was rushed to hospital with an ear cut off; another had a sharp instrument stuck in his back.
In what parents on Thursday termed gang-related violence, the boys from Pretoria West arrived outside the school gates in a taxi they had hired specifically for that purpose.
They wielded an assortment of weapons, including knives, pangas, small axes and other sharp weapons.
“They waited outside the gate, and attacked my son just as he came out on his way home,” said Lucas Mgidi, whose son’s ear was cut off in the fight. Mgidi said his son had been caught in the attack meant for a rival group.
Department of Education spokesman Gershwin Chuenyane said a team would be sent to investigate the circumstances around the incident.
“We are saddened by the injuries suffered by the pupils, we will send psycho-social officials to talk to them,” he said.
Mgidi said his son had fought back when he found himself in the thick of things, but he was left badly injured and bleeding after being hit with bricks, booted feet and fists.
The boy was hit on the side of his face with a knife that severed most of his left ear. “His friends arrived at the scene to find him looking very bad.
“They picked him up, took the piece of ear lying on the ground near him and flagged down a passing taxi to remove him from the situation and the possibility of further injuries,” Mgidi said.
Mgidis’ son’s friends called his parents to notify them of the injury, and the father asked the taxi driver to drop his son off at a local hospital.
Maropeng Mamabolo, whose son was among the group from Pretoria West, said her son was also left badly injured.
He was bleeding profusely and had a sharp instrument stuck in his back from the clash.
A parent admitted that she knew the boys had been heavily armed. “They had dangerous weapons on them, they might even have had a gun.”
The police had been called to the scene, and on Thursday spokeswoman Sergeant Ann Portman said when the officers arrived most of the injured had been removed.
“We are investigating the possibility of the violence being gang-related,” she said, adding that a 15-year-old boy from Langenhoven had been arrested yesterday.
“He was the only identifiable one, and we released him into his parents’ custody, pending the investigation.”
Police would be collecting statements from the injured boys once they were well enough to talk. “And then more arrests will follow,” Portman said.
Mgidi said they now feared for their son’s life, and did not know how safe he would be when he was well enough to return to school.
The pupil’s aunt blamed the school for allowing the situation to escalate out of control. “If they had called in the boys and spoken to them my nephew would not have acted desperately and asked for assistance.”
Both boys were out of intensive care by Thursday afternoon, with their parents saying they expected them to be discharged soon. – Pretoria News