German volunteer stabbed in chest during PE smash and grab
Horrified staff members at Lamani Public Primary School on Friday described how they had to bandage a young German volunteer who was brutally stabbed by two suspects just a couple of hundred metres from the primary school where he was coaching sport.
Chaos erupted at about 9am when Nikolas Marth and his friend, Eva Nauta, both 20, were attacked while on their way to the school on Friday morning.
The school, which is situated in New Brighton, has been involved with a German volunteer programme, along with another three other schools in the area, since 2011.
Shortly after the attack, residents mobilised and launched a manhunt – with the police – searching for the suspects.
The students are part of an international volunteer project that forms part of government’s international Lower Saxony agreement that aims at jointly assisting the two regions. School principal Zolile Dolonga, 49, said exact details on the incident were unclear, however, he had managed to find out the basics.
“They were on their way to the school at about 9 am when they stopped at the traffic light intersection (Ntshekisa Road and Ngesi Street) near the school.
“It sounds like two men charged at the car out of nowhere, one had a rock in his hand which was used to smash the driver’s side window,” he said.
“Nikolas resisted the attack and was stabbed just above the stomach while still sitting in the driver’s seat.
“They (the attackers) then leaned into the car and started taking stuff. They stole a jacket and two cellphones,” he said.
Dolonga said the attackers then ran off prompting Marth to speed off to the school.
“The car came speeding into the car park while I was still in the office. I heard the car driving fast but did not think much of it,” he said.
“The next thing she (Nauta) came running into the office in a panic asking for help. She told us that he (Marth) had been stabbed while he was in the car.”
In a bid to get help, Dolonga jumped out of his chair and ran to the car park.
“I was shocked. I just knew I had to help him. I ran to the car and another teacher came with me.
“When we got there, he was getting out of the car,” he said.
“There was a lot of blood on his top and he was struggling to breathe. We helped him to the office where one of the teachers, who is a former nurse, assisted with medical treatment. We were all so panicked and shocked that this happened. I am still shocked.”
Within minutes of alerting the police, an ambulance arrived and transported Mart to the Greenacres Hospital.
“Word travelled through the community of the attack and people started searching for these two people. The residentswere on the hunt for them. They were really angry about the attack,” Dolonga said,
Asked about the volunteers, Dolonga explained that the two were part of a small group assisting four schools in New Brighton.
“Every year we get two volunteers to assist us. They are assets and assist with sports, administration and teaching the children about computers,” he said.
“I really hope that this does not hamper our programme as it will be a dire loss to the community and children.”
The volunteer project is run by East London-based non-profit B-Strong Foundation and forms part of the international partnership programme between the Eastern Cape and Lower Saxony in Germany.
The partnership aims to see the two regions share knowledge and support for several projects, spanning education, sport and renewable energy.
Charles Duna primary school teacher Victor Hlulani, who is also the coach of the KwaDwesi-based Kempa handball club, said he rushed to the school after news of the attack spread.
“I know these people and they really help us and the children such a lot. Over and above helping with the school activities, they help teach at the club after hours and assist with upliftment projects.
“When we get them, they will know about it,” he said in reference to the suspects.
“I am worried that this has an effect on the project. This project gives Port Elizabeth people mainly living in the townships the opportunity to go on exchanges to Germany.”
A member of the community policing forum, who declined to be named, said she had raised the alarm after hearing of the attack.
“I got everyone together straight away and we went looking for them. We have spoken to everyone and have some idea of what they look like and who they are,” she said.
“This is so bad for the community and our children. We are very angry and we want to get them. Our children love these German volunteers.
“They help and teach our children so much. We cannot stand for this attack or anything that is going to jeopardise this project,” the woman said while walking with about 20 others in the street.
“Last week there were two guys at the school asking about them so we suspected that they were going to be robbed.
“We put plans in place and increased our community patrols with the police. The men then disappeared and we never saw them again. No one thought they would attack them at such a busy intersection.”Police spokesperson Captain Andre Beetge said a team of detectives had been working non-stop to track down the culprits.
Motherwell Cluster Commander Major General Dawie Rabie said that he was overseeing the operation to catch the attackers. “We are working around the clock to bring these culprits to book,” he said.
German-based ASC Göttingen sports club project coordinator Julia Colter, who runs the volunteer project, said the two students were in shock but recovering.
“We are very sad to hear about this incident but at the same time grateful to the school and community for being so helpful and caring,” she said.
Colter said Marth had been discharged from hospital by Friday afternoon but that both he and Nauta were in shock.