Burning schools undermines right to basic education – SAHRC

2016-05-05 17:51
A school that was set alight during protests in Vuwani, Limpopo. (News24 Correspondent)

A school that was set alight during protests in Vuwani, Limpopo. (News24 Correspondent)

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Durban – The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has condemned the burning of 17 schools in Vuwani, in the Vhembe District of Limpopo.

The burning of schools was reportedly committed by people opposing a High Court decision in a demarcation matter involving the integration of the Vhembe District, where Vuwani and other villages are situated, into the Malamulele municipality.

SAHRC spokesperson, Isaac Mangena said, while people had the right to demonstrate, they should do so responsibly.

"The right must be exercised in accordance with the law and as such should not be exercised in a manner that results in the destruction of public or private property. This right should be carried out with due regard to the rights of other people," he said.

Mangena said resorting to burning schools undermined the right to a basic education for thousands of children who were negatively affected by these acts of arson.

Negative impact on children's rights

"The burning of schools has a direct negative impact on the right of children to realise their right to basic education," he said.

Mangena said the Limpopo government and all other relevant authorities should continue with efforts to try and engage the protesters so that children could return to school.

"The SAHRC welcomes the commitment made by the Limpopo provincial government to ensure that as soon as order is restored, mobile classes will be provided where needed so that children can continue with their classes."

Mangena said the commission was concerned that the destructive nature of the protest would result in the diversion of resources.

This meant that money that could have been spent on improving education facilities would now have to be spent on rebuilding school infrastructure and replacing learning and teaching materials.

The commission called on protesters to conduct their protest in a lawful manner and urged the police to ensure peace and stability.

Read more on:    sahrc  |  polokwane  |  education

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