Sunday World

Looting spree gutted KZN schools

Some schools will have to be rebuilt from scratch

- By Sandile Motha

Townships and rural schools in Kwazulu-natal continue to carry the heavy burden of the violent protests, which engulfed the country culminatin­g into mass looting of businesses and destructio­n of property with some schools having to rebuild from scratch after classes were burnt to the ground.

The mass looting caused untold harm to 139 schools in the province, which suffered losses ranging from teaching equipment to infrastruc­tural damage.

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga said yesterday that it will cost R300-million to fix the schools.

The Amajuba district in Newcastle was one of the districts severely affected by the mass looting. At Simangaye secondary school, about 85km outside Osizweni, the looters set alight five classrooms including the school library.

“This school holds special memories to us because it was built through sweat and tears and from the generous contributi­ons collected from the community. It was built in the early 90s, prior to that we had no high school to service the area.

“Children who had completed primary education had to travel long distances to a secondary school. We subsequent­ly converted a church into a school and we offered standard six to standard eight. Through the interventi­on of the government it became a fully-fledged school,” said Simon Nculwane, a parent and member of school governing body. He said the school was one of the best-performing schools in the area and had in consecutiv­e years achieved an above 80% average matric pass rate.

“We lost to five classrooms, which were torched to the ground including our small library. But despite this setback we have to go on and see to it that matric pupils are prioritise­d.”

Umlazi district under ethekwini metro and umgungundl­ovu and Pinetown district also felt the reign of terror with computers, laptops, gas stoves, furniture, Jojo tanks and food items among key items looted.

Kwazulu-natal secretary of the South African Democratic Teachers Union Nomarashiy­a Caluza told Sunday World matriculan­ts would feel the immediate impact of the mayhem.

“The destructio­n to schools happens at a time when the matriculan­ts were already lagging behind because the 2021 academic term started late. This is an unfortunat­e, undesirabl­e situation and the failure of communitie­s to protect the future of their own children.

“We have made a proposal to the department that funds that were meant for matric special study camps must be used to offer extra lessons.”

Provincial education spokespers­on Kwazi Mthethwa said the damage to school infrastruc­ture ran into millions of rand.

“In the interim, mobile classrooms will be dispatched to schools to enable the continuati­on of the academic programme,” said Mthethwa.

Schools are expected to open this week following their temporary closure two weeks ago after President Cyril Ramaphosa shut schools as a measure to reduce Covid-19 infections.

Apart from critical teaching equipment, thousands of pupils in mostly rural schools will go hungry as food items and cooking equipment were also looted.

The school was one of the best -performing schools in the area

 ?? / Gallo Images ?? Some schools in Kwazulu-natal were razed during the recent violent lootings that engulfed the country.
/ Gallo Images Some schools in Kwazulu-natal were razed during the recent violent lootings that engulfed the country.

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