Pupils at North West schools were dealt a heavy blow as fires broke at four separate schools in a suspected arson.

The province’s education department spokesperson, Elias Malindi, said the fires broke out on Thursday in Moruleng, north of Rustenburg.

Damage includes:

At the secondary school in Manamakgotha, the school’s assembly point structure, together with 200 chairs, five desks, the staff room, five classrooms, and the administration office were partially burnt;

At Raphurele Secondary School in Welgeval village, an attempt was made to burn two classrooms;

In Ofentse Primary School in Moruleng, two classrooms’ doors were partially burnt;

In Dikweipi, two primary school classrooms were completely torched, and one was partly burnt.

North West MEC for Education Mmaphefo Matsemela said: “We strongly condemn this and those who did this are savagely cruel to their community.

“This barbaric custom of burning schools should come to an end. We cannot over-emphasise how grave a setback this is to the already compromised academic year.”

She pleaded with residents in the vicinity of the schools to help the police find the perpetrators.

Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone said police are investigating two cases of arson and two of attempted arson.

“Preliminary investigations revealed that a flammable substance was used during the commission of the crimes. The motive is yet to be determined and no one has been arrested at this stage; an investigation into the matter continues,” Mokgwabone said.

Malindi said schooling will continue, with staff “working around” the damage.

They were not aware of any disputes which may have led to the attacks.

In 2013, 31 schools were torched in Vuwani, in Limpopo.

-The Citizen

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