KZN Unrest: Equal Education condemns vandalism of 50 schools
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DURBAN - EQUAL Education has condemned the vandalising and looting of schools in KwaZulu-Natal.
The Department of Education in KZN said 50 schools in the province were affected.
“The vandalism of schools makes me feel broken because the very same schools help us get education that trains our minds and abilities to acquire knowledge,” said a Grade 11 member of Equal Education in KwaZulu-Natal.
“Teaching and learning will mostly be affected as classes are damaged, so where will we learn? Our communities need to think about what will happen after schools have been damaged, the Grade 11 added.
Another Grade 11 member of the NGO said she was heartbroken.
“’Learners will have to stay home. That means we are not going to be able to learn, even if a teacher tries to help online they will have a problem since we do not all have access to cellphones.
“Learners in these schools will be left behind and have a lot of work when they go back to school.
“Let us protect our schools, schools belong to the community and the people who live in it. If we are destroying schools, we are also destroying our property.”
Equal Education said it supported the efforts of the education department to protect schools, but warned against the police and military using excessive force against people.
“The destruction of schools comes at a time when schools are preparing to safely reopen their gates to learners next week after the July school holiday was extended to curb the spread of Covid-19 during the third wave.”
Schools were not only places of learning but where pupils need to get a meal, through the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP), EE said.
“The unrest has caused food shortages, at a time when the number of households reporting child hunger is almost double what it was before the pandemic.”
The Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa) has also decried the vandalising of schools during last week’s riots.
The union said it had noted that many schools, including those with feeding scheme facilities, had been broken into with equipment stolen.
“Fedusa is sickened by images of a school that has been burnt to the ground in Pinetown, the apparent reason being that people were looking for food.
“Having stolen everything in the school, there could be no reason for absolute callous destructiveness of burning down the school. If the intention was to inflict hurt on the government, there is the ballot box to do so,” said Fedusa general secretary Riefdah Ajam.
With the schools opening in two weeks there are fears that many learners will be severely affected by the destruction at some of the schools.
“Our Constitution encourages us to prioritise the best interests of the child in any given situation, and education in a secure and caring environment is the best gift that we can give to our children,” she said.
The union condemned the vandalism, labelling it an act of lawlessness and callousness, calling on security agencies to swiftly secure these soft targets and prosecute the criminals.