Schools in KwaZulu-Natal have been damaged and looted following the unrest that has gripped that province and Gauteng for the past few days.
City Press has seen a report by the KwaZulu-Natal department of education with a list of 32 schools and education district offices that were vandalised. According to the list, the areas mostly affected by the looting are Umlazi and Pinetown.
The following is some of the damage that was done:
- Ixopo – The infrastructure in the circuit manager’s office was burnt;
- Ugu – Construction material was stolen at Nkonka High School, Dumisa Primary School and Merlewood Secondary School;
- Amajuba district – Classrooms and furniture were burnt at Ntobeko Primary School;
- Amajuba district – A library and a kitchen were damaged at Simanganyawo Primary School
- Amajuba district – Toilets were vandalised at Zabalaza Primary School and Amadada Secondary School;
- Pinetown district – A gas stove was stolen from Silverton Primary School, but was later recovered by security guards;
- Umgungundlovu district – Office equipment and furniture were stolen at Sikhululiwe Secondary School; and
- Umgungundlovu district – Computers were stolen at Vulindlela Education Centre.
The report says the extent of the damage at the rest of the schools is yet to be confirmed.
Spokesperson for KwaZulu-Natal education Kwazi Mthethwa would not be drawn into discussing the report.
He told City Press that the department was currently liaising with district offices to establish the number of schools that had been vandalised and looted, and the extent of the damage.
He said once that information had been collected it would be given to the premier’s office for it to communicate on behalf of the provincial government.
“We will not be giving out piecemeal information,” said Mthethwa.
The National Professional Teachers’ Organisation (Naptosa) called the looting and vandalism of schools “sickening” and “unforgivable”.
In a statement on Thursday, the union said the number of looted schools was shocking and that those who stole from institutions of learning had “destroyed the future of innocent children”.
“Naptosa is sickened by images of a school in Kwazulu-Natal burnt to the ground ... the reason apparently being that people were looking for food. Having stolen everything in the school, there could be no reason other than callous destructiveness for the school to be burnt. If [the intention] is to inflict hurt on the government, there is the ballot box to do so,” said Naptosa’s executive director Basil Manuel.
“The time has arrived when the destruction and damage to schools can no longer be dealt with as merely an offence of damage to property. It needs to be elevated to something more telling, for which more severe and deterrent sentences can be imposed and where the damage it causes children becomes an aggravating factor.”
In a statement on Tuesday condemning the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal, the SA Democratic Teachers Union said four circuit offices of the education department in that province had been torched.
This is not the first time that schools have fallen victim during a national crisis. During the hard lockdown last year 183 schools were vandalised, torched and burgled across the country.
There has been unrest in KwaZulu-Natal since Friday. People have looted stores and big warehouses empty, and shoppers are now scrambling for groceries and have to wait in long queues to access basic food items such as bread.
Racial tensions have also been brewing in some parts of the province as white and Indian people are preventing black people from going into certain neighbourhoods to access stores.
*This article was updated on July 21.