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News24.com | PICS | Four North West schools torched in suspected arson attack

Damage to one of the North West schools torched on Thursday.

Damage to one of the North West schools torched on Thursday.

Department of Basic Education

  • Four schools caught fire in the North West, in an act the education department called “savagely cruel”.
  • The torching comes ahead of crucial end-of-year exams in a year complicated by Covid-19 and disrupted schooling.
  • Residents of the schools’ towns north of Rustenburg have been asked to help police locate the perpetrators. 

Pupils at North West schools were dealt a heavy blow as fires broke at four separate schools in suspected arson.

The province’s education department spokesperson, Elias Malindi, said the fires broke out on Thursday in Moruleng, north of Rustenburg. 

Damages include:

  • At the secondary school in Manamakgotha, the school’s assembly point structure, together with 200 chairs, five desks, the staff room, five classrooms and the administration office were partially burnt;
  • At Raphurele Secondary School in Welgeval village, an attempt was made to burn two classrooms;
  • In Ofentse Primary School in Moruleng, two classrooms’ doors were partially burnt;
  • In Dikweipi, two primary school classrooms were completely torched, and one was partly burnt. 

North West School fire (Supplied)

North West school fire (North West education department).

Damage after at arson attempt at a North West school (North West Education Department)

nw schools

Damage to one of the North West schools torched on Thursday.

Schools

The areas where the schools are (Google Maps)

North West MEC for Education Mmaphefo Matsemela said: “We strongly condemn this and those who did this are savagely cruel to their community.

“This barbaric custom of burning schools should come to an end. We cannot over-emphasise how grave a setback this is to the already compromised academic year.”

She pleaded with residents in the vicinity of the schools to help the police find the perpetrators. 

Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone said police are investigating two cases of arson and two of attempted arson. 

“Preliminary investigations revealed that a flammable substance was used during commission of the crimes. The motive is yet to be determined and no one has been arrested at this stage; investigation into the matter continues,” Mokgwabone said. 

Malindi said schooling will continue, with staff “working around” the damage. 

They were not aware of any disputes which may have led to the attacks.

In 2013, 31 schools were torched in Vuwani, in Limpopo. 

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