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IN PICS | Inside petrol-bombed Phoenix high school

The KwaZulu-Natal education department says a preliminary investigation points to a petrol bomb attack at Phoenix Secondary School.
The KwaZulu-Natal education department says a preliminary investigation points to a petrol bomb attack at Phoenix Secondary School.
Image: Supplied

Teaching and learning are expected to resume on Monday at the Phoenix Secondary School, north of Durban, where a fire, believed to have been started by a petrol bomb, destroyed the library and the administration block.

KwaZulu-Natal education department head Nkosinathi Ngcobo visited the school after a fire broke out on Tuesday night. The school was closed to pupils on the first day of term on Wednesday.

“We are not in a position to start today [Wednesday] because it is the learners' safety that we take seriously. We would not want to take learners in a space which is hazardous,” said Ngcobo.

The fire destroyed the administration block at Phoenix Secondary School.
The fire destroyed the administration block at Phoenix Secondary School.
Image: Supplied

“There are walls hanging precariously and if you bring children here before clearing the rubble it would not be wise. The weather is also against us.”

A recovery plan has been prepared to catch up on the lost teaching time.

Documents and records were destroyed when a fire, believed to have been started by a petrol bomb, broke out at Phoenix Secondary School.
Documents and records were destroyed when a fire, believed to have been started by a petrol bomb, broke out at Phoenix Secondary School.
Image: Supplied

KwaZulu-Natal ActionSA leader Zwakele Mncwango also visited the school and said he was shocked.

“If you are burning the school you are burning the future of the nation. One cannot understand what reason and motive would be cited for this.”

He said he had engaged KZN police commissioner Lt-Gen Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi on the possibility of setting up a task team to investigate.

“We need a thorough forensic investigation to get to the bottom of this. Yes, there is security here, but someone bypassed it and entered and used a petrol bomb,” said Mncwango.

Meanwhile, with adverse weather conditions in the province, the education department said contingency plans were in place.

These included provision of mobile classrooms at some of the 40 schools in and around Ladysmith which were affected by flooding in December.

“Some are responding to say classrooms have been supplied. We are monitoring the situation to see if there is a need for more classrooms elsewhere,” said Ngcobo.

The department had considered the level 5 weather warning by the South African Weather Service and asked principals to allow teachers and pupils to leave early on Wednesday.

TimesLIVE


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