Mulamuleli Nemamilwe, 17 and in Grade 8, said he wanted to go to the toilet around 9am but that the door was locked from the inside.
“I got interested in knowing what was happening and if there was anyone inside,” Nemamilwe said. “I decided to go and call a teacher.”
Nemamilwe called John Ramudzuli, a grade 10 and 11 teacher at Mamphodo. Ramudzuli was preparing for his next period but followed Nemamilwe back to the toilet as other children began gathering around.
“The first thing I could smell from the toilet was the smoke of dagga (mbanzhe) and cigarettes,” Ramudzuli said. “I knocked several times but there was no answer so I opened the door with a spade.”
“When I opened the door, there were three guys lying on the floor… deadly drunk,” he added. “Their eyes had changed to red and beside them there was a full pack of mbanzhe and an empty pack of cigarettes.”
Mamphodo Acting Principal Nndavhelseni Nengudza told OurHealth he was surprised to see police cars at school.
“I wondered what was going on until the police arrived in my office and told me that they had come … to arrest some of the pupils,” Nengudza said. “I went with them …only to find three of my children drunk and smelling like junk in the school toilets.”
“The children tried to deny using drugs, but the police had already seen the proof,” said Nengudza, adding that the arrests were the school’s first to his knowledge.
“Pupils know that if they get caught, they will be expelled from the school,” he said. “I have heard rumours before concerning children doing drugs here at school, but we’ve never caught one red-handed.”
According to Constable Fhulufhuwani Kwinda from Muswodi Police Station, one of the arrested children had been taken into custody previously for possession of drugs.
“Young people have to stay away from drugs and alcohol,” Kwinda told OurHealth. “Drugs can destroy one’s brain and there is a possibility that one can turn crazy because of drugs.”
“It is better for children to …focus on their studies,” Kwinda added. “If they keep on using drugs, we are going to arrest them and that will be not good for their futures.”