Imbali school pupils’ riot escalates

2014-06-25 00:00

MEHLOKAZULU High School in Imbali closed early for the term yesterday after pupils rioted for two days, asking where the money they had won had gone.

Police chased pupils who burnt tyres, broke windows in five classrooms and blockaded the busy FJ Sithole Road next to the school with rocks. Sections of roof were also broken. Armed police arrested 26 pupils.

The pupils wanted to know what had happened to the money they had won in soccer competitions and other school activities.

“We won about R150 000 in a school soccer competition in two years. We don’t know where the money is,” said a pupil who did not want to be named.

A source said the chaos started on Monday morning, when the pupils tried to stop teachers from entering the school. However, the security guards were able to get the teachers into the premises and classes proceeded.

School governing body chairperson Jabulani Nene said they were surprised by the riot. He said it had disrupted examinations being taken by some grades. “We don’t know how the pupils got tyres into the school premises because we have security at the gate. There is no formal complaint from the pupils that we know of. We don’t know what made them do this.

“We decided to close school for this term while we try to find a solution to this problem. We will open the school in the next term,” said Nene.

He said he was unaware of the money referred to by the pupils.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said pupils were arrested on public violence charges. They will appear in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court soon.

Ward councillor Garnet Mlete said they would meet with the teachers and then the pupils’ parents.

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