The University of Cape Town on Tuesday morning confirmed reports that “four cars were set alight at .
Not much was expected from Orange Farm-based Leshata Secondary School after its inception in 1993.
But it is today Gauteng's best rural or informal settlement school, thanks to its dedicated teachers, parents and the rest of the community.
Faced with the challenge of a lack of facilities and struggling pupils from poverty-stricken households, its road to success, according to the principal Moeketsi Molelekoa, has not been easy.
Leshata, which means "noise" in Sepedi, raised eyebrows when its matric pass rate in 1996 rose from 34percent to 92percent, winning the school performance awards in the process.
And this year's matriculants from Leshata have done it again by obtaining a pass rate of just over 92 percent. This is, however, a slight drop in standards compared with last year's 96 percent.
The school has had consistent pass rates of more than 90 percent in the last few years.
After becoming the first black school to register a 100 percent pass rate in 1999, the school has not looked back.
In 2000 they obtained a 98percent pass rate, followed by 99percent in 2001.
Their stellar performance prompted Gauteng's Premier Mbhazima Shilowa to confer two Service Excellence awards on them last year - one gold and one platinum.
"When we first started this school the conditions were not up to standard. We had three primary schools plus Leshata sharing classrooms.
"Younger children would come in for lessons in the morning while the older ones would arrive from midday until late afternoon,'' Molelekoa said yesterday.
He said he works hand in hand with his staff and with parents to ensure that the school's good performance history is sustained.
"I always refer to Leshata as a resilient horse. Though we do have challenges such as ill-discipline and late arrivals we know that by working together as a community we can overcome anything," Molelekoa said.
Molelekoa also said that he sometimes meets with up to 40 parents a day to engage them in their children's school progress.
"We have a capable young management team, a strong school governing body and supportive parents. All of this was not achieved overnight. We persevered to get where we are now," Molelekoa said.
He also said that the success of his school over the years has meant that Leshata is now a sought-after place for parents to send their children.
Molelekoa also extended his gratitude to primary school principals and teachers in and around Orange Farm.
"These unsung heroes deserve recognition for setting up a strong foundation in these children as we get a feed of razor-sharp pupils. All we do is build up on that by instilling discipline and a culture for learning. Thank God we have them,'' he said.