World, Africa

Protesters burn down 13 schools in South Africa

Education department says 100,000 students may be affected in Limpopo province protests

05.05.2016
Protesters burn down 13 schools in South Africa

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa

Protesters have burnt 13 schools in South Africa’s northern Limpopo province, leaving thousands of students stranded without classes, according to police.

According to a police statement, nine schools were torched Tuesday night in Vuwani town in Vhembe district, while three others were burnt a day earlier on Monday.

The protesters were residents of the area, who were demonstrating against the national Municipal Demarcation Board’s decision to include Vuwani into the newly-created Malamulele Municipality.

Residents claimed they would not get better services under the new municipality and demanded to stay under Makhado Municipality. It remains unclear what prompted protesters to burn down schools to make authorities meet their demands.

Elijah Mhlanga, a spokesman for the education department told Anadolu Agency via telephone late Wednesday, that about 100,000 students could have been affected by the violence, because protesters also forced 50 schools in the surrounding area to shut down.

According to local media reports, shops and offices also remained shut in Vuwani and its surroundings as protesters barricaded roads.

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga said the actions of protesters had severely undermined government efforts to improve education in the area.

“It is not only a waste of taxpayers’ money to lose valuable existing infrastructure but its disrespects the hard work of every law abiding member of society,” Motshekga said in a statement Wednesday.

This is not the first time that protesters have vented their anger on schools in South Africa. In the past, protesters have burnt also trains, clinics and even looted shops to express their anger against poor service delivery or government decisions.

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