#UnrestSA: Around 30 schools vandalised in KZN looting, one destroyed in fire

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  • More than 30 schools in KwaZulu-Natal have been vandalised, Naptosa claims.
  • The education department says it is still establishing the extent of the damage.
  • Sadtu says the damage could exacerbate overcrowding in schools.

More than 30 schools in KwaZulu-Natal have been vandalised, according to the National Professional Teachers' Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa).

The organisation claimed 32 schools were damaged during unrest across the province. Some schools, the organisation said, had been vandalised or have had equipment stolen, while one school was destroyed in a fire.

However, education spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa said the department was still tallying up the losses.

He confirmed schools had been vandalised, but said the department was still assessing the damage and collecting statistics per district.

Naptosa executive director Basil Manuel said one school had been destroyed, while others had been vandalised and looted.

"Naptosa is sickened by images of a school in KwaZulu-Natal burned to the ground, and 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 burned," he said.

READ | No need for malls to close despite messages threatening looting, say Western Cape authorities

He said stealing from a school was "contemptible".

He said:

The time has arrived where 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.

SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) spokesperson Nomusa Cembi condemned the destruction, saying it was shocking to hear that schools had been looted and torched.

"This will affect learners severely. We already face the challenges of overcrowding at schools, and now with Covid-19, schools need to implement social distancing. We already face a crisis of space without losing more schools to this destruction," she said.

"We urge people to put the country first. If they were putting the country first, they would never have targeted schools because schools are supposed to build the future of the youth."

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