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225 schools in KZN have been vandalised during lockdown – MEC Mshengu

Provincial Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu said officials suspected that criminal syndicates, who wanted to pressure the department into giving them contracts for construction and security services, were behind the attacks.

KwaZulu-Natal Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu. Picture: kzneducation.gov.za

DURBAN - Kwazulu-Natal Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu said a total of 225 schools had been vandalised in the province since the first day of the nationwide lockdown.

Mshengu said officials suspected that criminal syndicates, who wanted to pressure the department into giving them contracts for construction and security services, were behind the attacks.

So far, nine people have been arrested in connection with the attacks.

The MEC said with schools set to re-open soon for grade 7s and matriculants, the province was in urgent need of financial assistance.

Mshengu said despite increasing attacks on public schools, with the latest incident taking place Tuesday night in the Harry Gwala District, the province stood ready to resume the academic programme.

“Whenever the president and the minister finally decide on the date of opening schools, as KZN we have to open schools just like every other province.”

Mshengu said, however, the province was in dire need of funds to fix the vandalised schools and purchase protective gear for pupils and educators to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“We don’t have money and there is no indication of further allocation, either from the provincial Treasury or from national government, but obviously we will continue asking for money from the Provincial Treasury and National Treasury.”

Mshengu said in the meantime, the department would reprioritise its available funds, postpone several projects that were initially earmarked for this year and channel all efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at provincial schools.