Three schools, clinic burnt in North West protest

FILE PICTURE: Tyres burn. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

FILE PICTURE: Tyres burn. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

Three schools and a clinic were burnt during a service delivery protest in Delareyville on Wednesday, North West police said.

Captain Paul Ramaloko said protesters in Kopela near Delareyville, demanding electricity torched at least 10 classrooms at the three schools in the early hours.

“Five classrooms were burnt at one school, four classrooms at one school and one classroom was at another,” he said.
Four people were arrested for malicious damaged to property, they were expected to appear in court on Thursday.
North West education department spokesman Elias Malindi said schools in the area were affected.

“Learners did not come to school as results of the protest. The situation here is bad, there are no people on the streets,” he said.

He said the roof of one school looked as it was blown away by a heavy explosion.

“Community members went on a rampage and caused serious damage to Kelebogile Primary, Noto Secondary School and Ramokonyane Middle School.

“At Kelebogile Primary School, the principal’s office, staff room and three classrooms which catered for grade R, grade three and four were set alight with windows broken and the National School Nutrition Programme [NSNP] grocery was stolen. All blocks of classrooms are not conducive for learning,” he said.

At Noto Primary School six classrooms, the library, staffroom, two HOD (head of department) offices, administrative assistants’ office which contained valuable information including learner results and schools files were burnt to the ground.

“Four photo-copying machines and two printers were also damaged. The NSNP kitchen was also destroyed.”
At Ramokonyane Middle School, a library, two classrooms and the principal’s office were burnt. The mob tried to steal computers but, they were safely locked away.

North West Education MEC Maphefo Matsemela expressed disappointment at the incidents.

It is deeply saddening that schools are burnt at this critical time where learners are about to write exams. There is no excuse for the destruction of centres of learning. We are in the process of meeting with councillors, priests and traditional leaders to find places where learners can write their exams,” she said.

“In the meantime while schools are not habitable for learning, we are looking at churches and other community centres to cater for learners. The meetings will continue.”

North West Community Safety MEC Gaoage Molapisi said the destruction of public properties was not only a drawback but also serves to exacerbate service delivery challenges within some communities.

“We condemn in the strongest term acts of criminality that are an affront to our democracy. We must all condemn these barbaric acts because they derail progress and development,” he said.

“Those who have burned the clinic and schools are in serious trouble, our police will leave no stone unturned and mum work very hard to arrest those responsible, charge them and prosecute.”


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