Minister condemns burning of North West school

Pretoria - Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has condemned the torching of a school in Mareetsane village near Mafikeng.

Six classrooms at Setilo Secondary School were burnt down on Thursday due to alleged political violence in the area. A mob disrupted lessons at the school on Tuesday. Learners and teachers were unable to continue with teaching and learning due to the disruptions and safety concerns.

The police have since apprehended seven suspects, aged between 19 and 32, who are due to appear at the Itsoseng Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

“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 rands that the tax payer will have to fund, they are holding the lives of these learners to ransom and putting the future of our children in jeopardy.

“We only need to look at how the violence experienced in Vuwani has impacted the learners there and it is yet to be seen if they will recover from the time and resources lost.

“We could have lawyers, doctors or engineers among these learners and now their chances of getting the marks they need to transform their lives could be scuppered by the unacceptable, selfish actions of these criminals,” the Minister said.

She called on the parents of children and communities around the country to protect schools at all cost and ensure that schools are not turned into places of protest.

“History will judge us harshly if we continue to use our children as bargaining chips in our community struggles,” said Minister Motshekga.