Mpumalanga MEC for education Reginah Mhaule on Friday appealed to members of the public to refrain from burning schools when voicing their grievances to the government.
Mhaule’s pleas came after Mavimbela Primary School in Calcutta in Mkhuhlu, near Hazyview, was torched on Tuesday, allegedly by some community members who were demanding the construction of a new school in the area. On January 22, a fire also broke out and damaged a part of the building of Zakheni High School in Zakheni Village near KwaMhlanga.
“I hope you saw the sad developments in the media about the burning of school’s property by the disgruntled community,” said Mhaule.
“This [burning of schools] is something that must be condemned from all fronts as it has the potential to hold our learners to ransom by the despicable act of destroying community resources that strive to better people’s lives. The unfortunate thing about such developments is that they divert everyone’s attention and end up compromising the good plans we have as a collective. I’m raising this matter because we all need infrastructure.”
KwaMhlanga police spokeswoman Sergeant Zimkhona Mahlangu said on Friday a case of arson was under investigation in relation to the burning of Zakheni High School, adding no arrests have been made. She said the fire destroyed a number of items including ipads, a computer, a photocopy machine, documents and textbooks which were in the administration block.
Provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Mondli Zuma also condemned the incidents. He said two women, who are believed to be members of the School’s Governing Body (SGB), were arrested this week in connection with the burning of Mavimbela Primary School. Zuma said the women, identified as 35-year-old Grace Mabaso and Margaret Mashaba, 59, were each granted R1,000 bail by the Mkhuhlu Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
“It is very disturbing to find SGB members and parents involved in the torching of schools. They are violating the right of the children to education,” said Zuma.
– African News Agency (ANA)