A 24-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly setting the Mmamafa Secondary School in Matikiring Village outside Polokwane on fire causing major damage to almost all classrooms and the library.
Police Spokesperson in Seshego, Mothemane Malefo yesterday (Wednesday) said the man was not formally charged yet, but he is supposedly facing a charge of arson. “If he is charged he is expected to appear in the Seshego Magistrate’s Court today (Thursday)” Malefo said. He did not elaborate on allegation that the man is mentally disturbed and said it will only be dealt with in court.
Polokwane Observer recently reported on vandalism at the school after perpetrators broke nearly all windows and pushed a burning carpet through a window in the administration block thereby setting alight and destroying a filing cabinet containing learners’ files and test results.
Previously computers and laptops were stolen from the school. The department at the time advised the School Governing Body (SGB) to approach local businesses for help as it had no money available to assist the school.
On Monday evening most of the library and its books and several classrooms were destroyed during a fire. “At around 23:00 members of the community saw a fire at the school. On their arrival they found the library and several classrooms on fire. It is not sure what was used to start the fire,” an educator, who wished to remain anonymous, stated
The educator also informed that Grade 12 learners who were to sit for a trial exam History paper had to be relocated to a nearby primary school in order to write the exam. “This is probably the arrangement to be followed until the end of the exams. For now the school is closed and we have no idea what to do or where to go. Learners are the ones suffering and this will have a definite affect on their results,” he said.
Naledzani Rasila, Head of Communications at the department confirmed the fire at the school. “We are happy that the school took the initiative to relocate matric learners in order for them to complete their exams. The department will have to sit around a table to discuss the situation and to come up with an urgent plan without causing too much disturbance to learners,” he said. He added that the department condemned incidents like that and called on the community to provide as much evidence possible to bring the perpetrators to book.