Vuwani residents urged to stop victimising schools

Schools remain shut for the third day in the Vuwani after 13 schools were set alight.

FILE: The cost to repair and rebuild those schools is an estimated R400 million. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNEBSURG - The Department of Basic Education has today called on protesting residents of Vuwani in Limpopo to stop victimising schools, saying it is almost impossible for pupils to catch up on the lost school time.

Schools remain shut for the third day in the Vumani and surrounded area as community members continue to protest against the municipal demarcation board's decision to include them into a new municipality.

Residents want the village to remain under the Makhado Municipality.

Last night, nine schools were torched and some burnt down completely, other schools have only been damaged partially.

On Monday another four schools were targeted.

The department's Elijah Mhlanga has appealed to community and religious leaders to help authorities restore calm in the area.

"It puts us in a very difficult position, which means learners might have to repeat the year if we are not able to stop this as quickly as possible."

The department also says some children in Vuwani will have to be taught under trees after the 13 schools were set alight.

Mhlanga says authorities will have to consider making use of mobile classes.

"They might even need to learn under trees because it's not a case where we will be able to move children to other villages. As we understand it, the villages in that area have all been affected, which means now you will need to leave your area completely and go to another one and that comes with transport implications."

Meanwhile, the cost to repair and rebuild those schools is an estimated R400 million.

"It means that the schools that were waiting for improvement will have to wait even longer and this can't be good news."