Classes, learning material burnt in Vaal school suspected arson

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The Gauteng Department of Education says four Information and Communication Technology (ICT) classrooms and learner material worth about R4 million have been destroyed at a school in Evaton, on the Vaal.

The principal of Tokelo Secondary School received information in the early hours of Thursday that the school was on fire.

Firefighters were immediately dispatched to the scene and managed to put down the blaze.

The department’s Steve Mabona says they believe the school was set alight.

“The fire was put off arson by the fire marshals. They’ve confirmed it’s pure arson. We wish to call upon anyone who might have information on this barbaric act to share same with the police to apprehend the suspects,” says Mabona.

Gauteng Education MEC and Acting Premier Panyaza Lesufi has condemned the alleged arson, saying such incidents are a setback to the department’s plans.

“We wish to reiterate our disappointment in such incidents because they really derail our plans. Reality is that we do not have funds to repair the school, the department will check what can be salvaged from the burnt school. The community must be vigilant and assist to track suspects and inform the police,” says Lesufi.

The department says it is hopeful that learning and teaching will not be hampered by the fire when schools re-open in two weeks’ time.

“It is disappointing that we find ourselves in this situation and we don’t have funds to repair or refurbish. But our officials will be a position to determine on how we going to be trying to salvage what is left from the block,” says Mabona.

This is a second tragic incident to rock the school in months.

In September, a 14-year-old learner stabbed to death his 17-year-old counterpart during a fight over a cell phone.