8 Cape Town pupils arrested after riot over R5 fines for being late

Cape Town - Eight pupils have been arrested following the torching of a classroom and the damaging of a school building at Joe Slovo Secondary in Khayelitsha, Western Cape police have confirmed.

A riot broke out at the high school on Tuesday as children protested against a R5 penalty for arriving late.

The group set a classroom and rubbish bins alight, hurled stones at the building, and broke the windows of a classroom where Grade 12s were writing their exams.

Cars parked on the premises, including that of the principal, were damaged and learners allegedly threw stones at the police when they arrived.

The pupils had been fine for being one-and-a-half hours late.

Police spokesperson Captain FC Van Wyk said the eight would appear in court once they had been charged.

Investigations

Van Wyk was unable to confirm the arrested pupils' ages.

On Wednesday, pupils travelled from Khayelitsha to the Cape Town CBD where they handed over a list of grievances to an education department representative.

They demanded to know what the money from the fines was being used for and argued that some children were unable to afford to pay the R5, resulting in them having to scale the school fence or clean toilets as punishment.

Education MEC Debbie Schafer on Wednesday condemned the pupils for resorting to violence and destroying public property.

Grievances listed in the memorandum, including allegations that pupils were charged monetary fines for a number of other offences, were being investigated by district officials, she said.

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