National 11.8.2016 07:16 am

Torched Vuwani schools’ tally rises

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga inspects the burned down schools in Limpopo. Picture: Gallo Images

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga inspects the burned down schools in Limpopo. Picture: Gallo Images

Stakeholders are furious and desperately want the culprits brought to book.

The possibility of those against the merger of Vuwani with other villages in Limpopo being involved in the recent burning of a school in the area could not be ruled out, pro-Makhado task team spokesperson Nsovo Sambo told The Citizen yesterday.

At least four classrooms at the Mugoidwa Secondary School were torched on Tuesday night.

This arson incident came barely a week after a total shutdown-of-services protest action, which broke out in May, was lifted. During the violence, at least 23 schools were burnt and damaged. Authorities have yet to establish who the culprits are.

Residents demanded that the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) reverse its decision to merge the troubled area of Vuwani with other villages to form a new municipality.

But the MDB and the ministry of corporate governance and traditional affairs said such a decision could only be reversed through the courts.

Sambo said two of the four torched classrooms were completely destroyed.

“It is difficult to say who exactly is behind this latest criminal act, but it could be someone who had been against the demarcation decision and doesn’t carry the same mandate as the people of Vuwani,” Sambo said.

“Such criminal acts are destroying the future of our children, and it is for this reason that we are calling on law enforcers to leave no stone unturned in finding the culprits.”

On the eve of last week’s elections, several community leaders, suspected to have been behind the violence in Vuwani, were taken in for questioning.

According to Limpopo police spokesperson Colonel Ronel Otto, no arrests had been made following Tuesday’s torching incident and investigations were still under way.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga condemned Tuesday’s incident. “The act of destroying a school is one of the most heinous crimes imaginable,” Motshekga said. Provincial department spokesperson Naledzani Rasila said pupils and teachers had returned to school yesterday, despite the latest attack.

The provincial government also condemned the incident.

– stevent@citizen.co.za

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