Schools torched in violent protest

Schools torched in violent protest.
Schools torched in violent protest.
Image: 123RF/ Weerachai Khumfu

Two schools and a development centre in North West have been set alight by irate residents who have since called for President Cyril Ramaphosa to appoint an administrator to oversee the council's funds, which they believe have been looted.

About 100 residents have been staging a seat-in at the Union Buildings for the past three weeks hoping to draw Ramaphosa's attention to their problems.

The Baphalane community members burnt Kwenatlase secondary and Baphalane primary schools and a development centre on Saturday in protest of the alleged maladministration in the council and a lack of service delivery and the maladministration of the community funds.

They also accused their local chief, Manotshe Ramokoka, of being involved in the alleged looting.

The Baphalane tribe had platinum mines that the community feels only benefit few people.

"We believe believe that the government has appointed an illegitimate chief to use him loot the community money," said Eugene Ramokoka, who is a member of the royal family.

Since June, residents have shut down schools and a clinic. Transport was also halted.

In September, North West premier Job Mokgoro established a task team to investigate the community's allegations of looting and the issue of the chieftaincy.

Community leader Charles Makinita said although they appreciated Mokgoro's efforts to investigate their allegations, they wanted the premier to suspend Ramokoka and appoint an administrator to oversee their funds.

"We are fighting for our funds. We are still here [Union Buildings] as we speak and we will not leave until we get an administrator or intervention from the president," Makinita said.

Chief Ramokoka pleaded with the community not to burn their own property. "Those two schools were not built by government but by our forefathers and we cannot destroy what is ours," he said.

The chief said the village was doing well in terms of developments until some community members protested, resulting in the destruction of schools.

The chief said he would welcome the intervention of government.

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