Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi is adamant that the department will not fix a primary school in Katlehong, Ekurhuleni, that was burnt down by community members complaining about the lack of electricity.
Lesufi visited the Katlehong Primary School on Thursday, and said the department would arrange for the children at the school to be relocated to a nearby primary school.
He said the department would not fix the school.
“We have asked the police to investigate the cause and to look for those that are responsible. If the community is involved, we are not going to fix the school,” Lesufi said.
He said the department did not have the money to rebuild the school, and said any funds that were available had been set aside for other communities the department had promised schools to.
Speaking on Radio 702 on Thursday afternoon, Lesufi said: “We need to remain firm and stand strong against this kind of behaviour. If you don’t, it will continue like this.”
Lesufi said he saw no reason why people who were protesting against the lack of electricity in the area needed to burn the school.
“I am gutted. When I … went to see the school, I just feel we cannot tolerate this. We must put an end to it. I am firm on it. We are not going to fix that school. We will take those children and relocate them to other surrounding schools.
“I cannot take money from another community that desperately need a school and go to fix a school that people do not appreciate,” he said.
Lesufi said he did not believe the surrounding primary schools were overcrowded and believed they would be able to accommodate pupils from Katlehong Primary.
He said this was not the first time that the department had refused to fix a school destroyed by community members.
He said community members had broken the school windows at Orlando High School. The department said it was not going to fix the windows.
Lesufi said the parents contributed money and fixed the windows.
“If you run government, you must take decisions, whether they are popular or unpopular.”