enraged pupils burn down CLASSES

TWO classrooms at the Sebalamakgolo High School in Namakgale, outside Phalaborwa, were completely burnt down yesterday.

TWO classrooms at the Sebalamakgolo High School in Namakgale, outside Phalaborwa, were completely burnt down yesterday.

Angry pupils set the school on fire after its management decided to postpone a careers exhibition trip to Polokwane.

The school had planned to take the trip today, but management allegedly told pupils during morning assembly yesterday about the sudden change of dates.

A source at the school told Sowetan that a group of "hot-headed" pupils, who had already made "plans" for the trip, walked out of the assembly, went straight to the two blocks and set them alight.

A circuit manager and the school's teachers, who were busy addressing pupils, had to run to safety after seeing smoke coming from the classes.

Baffled fellow pupils also had to run to safety.

Lessons were disrupted for the whole day since the police and firefighters struggled to bring the raging blaze under control.

A few pupils were allegedly taken to a nearby clinic to be treated for smoke inhalation.

One of the pupils was a highly pregnant girl who had to be treated for shock.

A traumatised Grade 12 pupil at the school said yesterday: "I am not going back to school until the situation has been addressed because that school is no longer safe.

"If they have been able to burn down the school, what more evil thoughts do you think they are harbouring?"

Limpopo department of education spokesperson Ndo Mangala said yesterday: "The department condemns in the strongest possible terms the action by the perpetrators.

"This is an act of irresponsibility that cannot be condoned in any way.

"The school belongs to the community and whoever burnt it has also burnt his future, the future of his children and that of generations to come.

"We are hoping that the police will speed up the process of bringing to book the culprits and allow justice to take its course."

Mangala also said the department would look into alternatives to ensure that learning and teaching continued at the school while it continued to address the situation.

Limpopo police spokesperson Superintendent Ronnel Otto said they had dispatched police officers to the school to question both pupils and members of the community about the incident.

Otto said the police had not made any arrest by lateyesterday.

He said police would work around the clock to bring those responsible to book so that they could face the full might of the law.