Residents of Ennerdale, south of Johannesburg, have pointed police to the drug lords in the area as those responsible for setting alight a classroom at a local high school.
This after tensions degenerated into a violent protest in demand for service delivery in the area but better school infrastructure in particular. The protest ended up in a violent clash with the police and five people, including a local councillor, were arrested.
Ragmat Bantom, a parent and an SGB member at Oakdale Secondary School, said it was untrue that residents had torched the school.
“Panyaza is talking bulls*** on Twitter saying the children are burning the infrastructure. It is not them; it is the guys who are occupying the place – drug lords.
“They (police) were hitting our parents, shoving them around and hitting them with tear gas. We were not armed and we are still unarmed. All we want is resources that will enable us to build bright futures. The very people who should be protecting us are the ones that are violating our rights.”
The residents are demanding the unconditional release of five protesters who have been arrested following demonstrations in the community. Four learners and two parents were admitted to hospital after being shot by the police.
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) Gauteng Provincial Manager, Buang Jones said an investigation would be established to determine whether the use of force by the police was disproportionate or not.
“The commission has in the past recommended that the police, in dealing with protests, should use proportionate force where necessary and should avoid instances where injuries can be sustained,” said Jones.
In March, more than 1 100 pupils from Ennerdale Secondary School stayed at home following fears they could become victims of a tragedy similar to the one that claimed the lives of four pupils at Hoërskool Driehoek, after a concrete slab collapsed onto a corridor at the Vanderbijlpark school in February, killing the four children.
Koketso Ramorei is a journalist and news editor of SADC News with years of experience in a number of genres including sports, politics and community reporting. He has worked for a numerous publications including The Citizen Newspaper and is a former editor of a Johannesburg-based off-campus publication called The Waldorfian Times.