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Lesufi threatens to disband governing body at torched Ennerdale school

Mobile classrooms at Oakdale Secondary School in Ennerdale were set alight on Monday.
Mobile classrooms at Oakdale Secondary School in Ennerdale were set alight on Monday.
Image: Crime Air Network via Twitter

Members of the school governing body (SGB) of Oakdale Secondary School in Ennerdale in the south of Johannesburg, where mobile classrooms were set alight on Monday, must tell Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi why they should keep their positions.

"The department will send a correspondence to the SGB members, which seeks to find reasons why should they not be disbanded," said department spokesperson Steve Mabona.

The mobile classrooms were set alight at the school on Monday as residents expressed their frustration over what they deem to be delays in repairing the school's roof, which was damaged in a storm last year. Four classrooms were affected.

Mabona said their inspectors found that the school needed major rehabilitation, for which a budget had been drawn up. "The department is finalising the process of appointing a service provider to address the general building work related to the storm damage," he said.

Lesufi was infuriated by the community and the SGB's apparent attempts to shut down the school. "There are plans to rehabilitate the block that was hit by lightning and other classes. We are disappointed by the act of shutting down the school and [the] burning of the mobile classroom," he said.

Police spokesperson Capt Kay Makhubele said protesters had earlier blocked roads with burning tyres and rocks. Police fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowd and arrested five people.

Earlier this month, SowetanLIVE had reported that pupils in grades 8-11 at Oakdale Secondary had not returned to school after parents had shut down the school, fearing for the safety of their children. It was reported at the time that the parents questioned the safety of the temporary containers.

Lesufi bemoaned criminal activity at Gauteng schools. He said besides the torching of the temporary classrooms in Ennerdale, the Gideon Rambuwane Primary School in Klipfontein View, Midrand, was hit by a robbery on Sunday. 

Criminals made off a server, two laptops, 27 computers, two cameras, a gas stove and R2,000, among other things. 

"We are under siege from these criminals. How do people continue to derail education of our children in this fashion?" asked Lesufi. 

A school safety summit, hosted by the provincial departments of education and community safety, is set to be held on Wednesday.

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