Around 30 Schools Damaged During Violence And Looting
According to teacher's union Naptosa, more than 30 schools in KwaZulu-Natal have been vandalized. Sadtu says that this damage could worsen the overcrowding experienced at schools.
The National Professional Teachers' Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) claims that more than 30 schools in KwaZulu-Natal have been vandalised. They say that at least 32 schools were damaged during the violence and looting which occurred in the province over the past week.
Naptosa says that some schools were vandalised or had equipment stolen while one school was destroyed in a fire.
However, education spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa said the department was still gathering information on the losses suffered at the schools. Mthethwa had confirmed that schools were vandalised but said that the education department was still assessing the damage and collecting statistics for each district.
Naptosa executive director Basil Manuel says that one school was destroyed by a fire and others were 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," Manuel said.
He says that stealing from a school should be treated as a more serious offence.In a statement released by Naptosa regarding this, it reads: ’’Stealing objects and equipment from a school is contemptable, but stealing the future of innocent children and disrupting their lives is unforgiveable.’’
"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."-Naptosa executive director Basil Manuel
The union has called on members of the communities where schools have been damaged to report those who took part in the vandalisation and looting of the schools.
The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) spokesperson Nomusa Cembi condemned the destruction occurring at the schools expressing her shock at the news that schools had been looted and set on fire.
"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.
Save the Children South Africa has called on all those involved in the violence and looting across the country to stop damaging schools so that learners may return to school once the Covid-19 lockdown is over.
Save the Children CEO Steve Miller says that 9 of the schools which they support have been damaged, one of them being a school that caters to children with special needs and house specialist equipment.
"When something like this happens, it's devastating, absolutely devastating for us to build up again from scratch a school that caters for special needs children in that area," says Miller.
He says that it will take the efforts of both the citizens and the government of South Africa to stop the damage and restore the communities.
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