ELEVEN pupils from Esokheni High School in Makhabelini appeared in the Kranskop Magistrate’s Court on Friday 15 September on charges of arson, theft and possession of suspected stolen property arising out of the burning down of the school and the theft of bicycles, laptops and Tablets on Monday 12 September.A total of 425 pupils were crammed into the small school demanding a new school and pupil transport as many had to travel long distances. The previous week the school had been stoned and damaged by pupils forcing the Department of Education to close it. It was reopened last Monday, but angry pupils torched it stating it was in a dilapidated state compared to other schools in Umzinyathi. They also demanded to know what had happened to funds allocated to the school for new buildings and improvements. Kranskop Station Commander, Colonel Caroline Minnaar said that the Greytown Crime and Intelligence Unit, led by Constable Paul and three members, herself and Captain Myaka of Kranskop, had gathered information as they looked for the stolen property. They recovered 11 bicycles, three laptops and nine Tablets and arrested the 11 pupils aged between 18 and 23 in Grades 10, 11 and 12.KZN DOE spokesperson Mr Kwezi Mthethwas said the department was frustrated by such action because “money budgeted for other essential educational necessities will now have to be redirected to remedy the damage caused”. A meeting of all stakeholders was due to be held, Mr Mthethwa said, to map the way forward in regard to trial exams and teaching.