'Rogue element' may have torched Katlehong primary school

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The torching of Katlehong Primary School might be the work of a lone "rogue element", with the broader community denying involvement in the vandalism, the Gauteng Department of Education has said.

The school in Katlehong on the East Rand was set alight last week, allegedly by protesting residents who had been demanding electricity in the area.

However, in a statement by Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi on Monday, he accepted the residents' version that they had not mobilised to burn down the school.

This included a principal's report, which suggested the broader community were not to blame.

"Accordingly, it is suspected that this act of arson might be the work of a lone member of the community. It is important to note that we have an undertaking from the community to assist us in tracking down the culprit," the department said in a statement.

"We fully support the community's standpoint and henceforth, we will work with them and the police to apprehend this rogue element," Lesufi added.

"However, the reality is that we do not have funds to repair the school. The department is at an advanced stage to check what can be salvaged from this mess."

It had also been established that two Grade R classrooms were torched, and as such the affected pupils would be temporarily accommodated in two others at the same school, the department said.

Previously, Lesufi took to Twitter posting pictures of the gutted classrooms and expressing his outrage.

In the tweet, he said the government would not spend any money fixing the school.

"People of Katlehong, this is what is left of Katlehong Primary School because the community is protesting against a lack of electricity. This is completely unacceptable. Forget it if you think we will fix it!" said Lesufi.

Classes will resume on Tuesday.

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