Mooi River school struggles to recover from vandalism, looting

2018-01-23 12:00

Durban - Eminyezaneni Secondary School provides education to 755 pupils in rural Mooi River but had to turn these students away last week due to severe damage the school had suffered over the holiday season.

A Mooi River parent, who asked to remain anonymous, arrived at her daughter's school on Wednesday to find the institution had been looted and defaced.

Eminyezaneni Secondary School. (Holly Charlton)

"It's broken, it's a mess, there's a mess inside where people have made beds and killed animals inside the classroom. There are no windows and no doors, and the electrical wires are broken," she said.

The woman added that the school's toilets were no longer functional.

Damaged toilets at Eminyezaneni Secondary School. (Holly Charlton)

Themba Nthlabathi, the school principal, said the perpetrators were likely local residents.

"This is something that keeps happening, I really don't understand it," he said.

"Last year the school was torched twice. The first time was in March and the second time was after the June holiday. Last year the admin block was also burnt down because of protests in the area. I have no idea why they're targeting the school."

Nthlabathi added that theft and a lack of electricity are major concerns at the school. But learning resources are also an issue.

"Stationery was stolen, a number of boxes were stolen, filing cabinets were stolen, and desks were stolen," he said.

"The transformer for the electricity was also cut and we have no electricity."

Eminyezaneni's classrooms were looted over the school holidays. (Holly Charlton)

Two meetings have been held between parents and the school's staff.

"After the meeting on Sunday, the parents resolved to clean up the school themselves today [Monday]," said Nthlabathi.

He said they would also come in on Tuesday. He expected it could take until Thursday to clean everything up because the damage was extensive.

More than 250 parents arrived with mops and buckets from their own homes to help where they could.

Nthlabathi expressed concern that similar acts of destruction could occur again in the current school year.

"This interruption will hold back the learners' studies," he said.

"I'm very frustrated and it's very hard for us. We hope to only lose two weeks of school."

Kwazi Mthethwa, spokesperson for the KwaZulu-Natal department of education, condemned the "acts of violence and thuggery" at the school.

"We stand firm against all forms of violent behaviour."

Mthethwa emphasised that dealing with the vandalism was a police, not a government, matter.

He called on the police to intervene.

A police officer from the Mooi River station, who chose to remain anonymous, revealed that a case had been opened at the station and that suspects had been arrested for vandalising the school.

Further information was not immediately available.

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Read more on:    durban  |  education  |  crime

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