National 10.8.2016 12:16 pm

Angie Motshekga appalled by torching of 29th school

Vhudzani Secondary School in Vuwani. Picture: Steven Tau

Vhudzani Secondary School in Vuwani. Picture: Steven Tau

The minister said the community needed to work with police to identify the criminals and put them behind bars.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on Wednesday said she was “appalled” by the “despicable act” of the torching of four classrooms at Mugoidwa Secondary School in Tshivulana Village, Vuwani.

Firefighters and law enforcement agencies battled late into the night on Tuesday to quell the blaze.

“It is unclear at this stage what the cost and extent of the damage to the school is. This is despite an agreement reached that schooling in the area would return to normal this morning,” said basic education department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga in a statement.

The arson attack came three months after schools in the area were torched in violent protests against demarcation. The protests in May culminated in a boycott of last week’s municipal elections.

Schooling in the area had been suspended as a result of the attacks on the schools and had been meant to resume on Wednesday.

“All learners are expected to return to school in the Vuwani area today. The Department used last week to prepare for the reopening of schools and to make sure the necessary resources were in place,” said Mhlanga.

“All schools will open as planned and Limpopo Education Department officials will be on hand to assist learners from Mugoidwa Secondary.”

Mhlanga said Basic Education Minister Motshekga “is appalled that another school has been torched bringing the number of schools burnt in this area 29”.

He said the minister had reiterated that the wanton destruction of school property would not be tolerated and had called upon law enforcement agencies to act swiftly to ensure that those responsible were brought to book.

“The act of destroying a school is one of the most heinous crimes imaginable. Not only are these criminals damaging State property worth millions of rand that the tax payer will have to fund, but they are holding the lives of these learners to ransom and putting the future of our children in jeopardy,” said Motshekga.

She called on the community to help protect schools at all cost and said the community needed to work with police to identify the criminals and put them behind bars.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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