Arson follows months of vandalism at Duncan Village school


By Busisiwe Mdlankomo- Mqamelo

Just weeks before schools open for the new academic year, Sinovuyo Secondary School’s school governing body (SGB) woke up to the shocking scene of its well-kept school in the Braelyn area burnt to the ground, with nothing that could be salvaged. 

In the early hours of Monday 6 January, the school was reported to have been petrol bombed along with a nearby clinic. The magnitude of the raging fire had destroyed absolutely everything that the school possessed. 

The SGB, expressed its deep unhappiness of the destruction of all the hard work that had been put into the school’s infrastructure and development.  

SGB member Lusizo Mathafeni said, “Sinovuyo had been burgled before, this last incident is not isolated. Electric wires have been stolen and classrooms vandalised. There has been a case of a child who is allegedly involved in this incident.” 

Police have not come forward with any evidence to have an arrest to date. He feels pained as the school is doing well, as one of the top schools in Duncan village. Its end would mean that there will be many students that will be left destitute. 

“We feel the police and the government have failed us, as no security has been put in place to date despite the number of times we have reported these incidents. This situation could have been avoided as it is,” says Mathafeni with resolve. 

Mathafeni further reiterates the fact there were numerous counts of burglary associated with their school and said that the school has not had any support to thwart any further burglary from occurring.

Another serious incident that should have further raised eyebrows was during the grade 12 examination period in December 2020, where the school’s hall, which was a matric venue was also completely vandalised. Students had to be inconvenienced and stressed further when they were then moved to nearby classroom that was bigger and less vandalised than the other classrooms. Students could not be moved to a different school under the circumstances, as that would have constituted an irregularity. 

The community and SGB are of the opinion that there should have been better security put in place by the government as the school is built in the middle of bushes. Even though the school is properly fenced, the provision of armed guards and a proper security system would assist in keeping the school off vandals. Vandals find it easy to just cut off the fence and do as they please. The school’s periphery needs to be constantly and consistently kept clean with the grass and trees at the periphery trimmed regularly, they say.

The SGB is gravely concerned about how the way forward would be paved regarding admission of learners back onto campus.  Their major concern was that all administrative documents had gone up in flames. “All records of all the facets of the school are now reduced to a pile of dirt” says a visibly torn SGB team. 

Mathafeni feels pained as the school is doing well, as one of the top schools in Duncan village. He noted that its end would mean that there will be many students that will be left destitute. 

“The school not only supports students around Duncan village, but also from Mdantsane, Westbank, Faries in Vergenoeg, Park Side. What will then happen to all these students? “We cannot afford to have this school close down!” says Mathafeni.

“We feel the police and the government have failed us as no security has been put in place to date to have avoided where we stand,” Mathafeni says. “No tangible action has been pursued which is disheartening and shows a lack of support and commitment in what they as a community are trying to achieve. We, as the SGB, can only imagine how emotionally distressed the principal, and her staff are. We still maintain that police visibility and better security would be appreciated. Perhaps the community too should do a lot more than it is doing to ensure that the school is looked after.”

At the moment the department has arranged to send students to the unused John Bisseker hostel which is miles away from the community. This will affect the rate of attendance of students further. 

On behalf of the community, the students, the teachers and the principal, the SGB is sending a plea to businesses or individuals that are able to assist, to kindly give a hand as soon as they possibly can. Their worry stems from a worsening problem of missing out on school time, especially with the Covid 19 period where students only attend during alternate days, meaning teaching time is already lost. Staying away because there is no structure, will exacerbate this problem further. Temporary structures or whatever kind of assistance possible would be most welcome was the voice of the community.

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