On Saturday, police found the owner of the school, businesswoman Queen Nyuswa, stabbed multiple times and bitten, lying face-down in a blood-splattered classroom.
At least R50 000 in cash was taken from two safes in the building.
Police are investigating murder and, according to a source close to the investigation, a 32-year-old employee, was being sought for questioning.
“She put up a real fight, the whole room is wrecked. Tables and chairs are broken, and there is blood everywhere. This could be someone she knows. But this was not just a matter of robbery because there are still valuables and cash in the building. There was no sign of forced entry. There could have been two suspects,” the source said.
But her family and employees could find no reason for the attack.
Nyuswa, 50, who lived in Reservoir Hills, outside Durban, was unmarried and had no children.
Hours after her body was found, her family gathered outside the yellow-painted building.
Nyuswa’s niece, Gugu Ntuli, said: “I don’t understand who would do this. She never fought with anyone, she loved the children so much.”
Ntuli could not bring herself to answer more questions.
Nyuswa owned the crêche and a gym, Body Vibes, in the same building. She also owned the Little Flower Preschool on Prince Edward Street, in the CBD.
Her employee at the gym, Carmen Bredell, had called police upon finding the body.
“A teacher who opened the crêche in the morning saw what she thought was a person sleeping in the classroom. She called me for help. When I went upstairs to check I saw it was (Nyuswa). I thought she was still alive until I saw she wasn’t breathing,” she said.
Nyuswa was known in the area for helping street children.
Pre-school teacher Martha Sam said: “She would see a child begging on the street and bring them to the crêche to make sure we give them food and take care of them. She would tell their parents not to worry about anything.
“She always cared for us too. If we didn’t have money for bread or transport or even rent, she would give us money and make sure we were okay. She had a heart of gold and loved us as her family.”
Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane confirmed a murder was being investigated.
It was unclear what would happen to the businesses. “Everyone is worried about their job now,” said the source.