17 August 2018

South Africa: Lesufi Calls for Calm After Mob Justice Attack On School Premises

Concerns have been raised that pupils at a Daveyton high school are living in fear, after a group of angry protesters interrupted school on Wednesday.

Fed up residents dragged a 17-year-old boy, who they allege is a gang member, onto the school premises and asked him to point out which of the school's learners were members of the township's feared gangs.

He was then set alight in full view of the students after he was not able to identify any pupils. He did, however, allegedly name some of his friends.

The teenager, who survived, was taken to the hospital for treatment.

"We strongly condemn the disruption of schooling and urge the community to remain calm and allow the law to take its cause," Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said in a briefing at the school on Friday.

It is alleged that children as young as 13 are joining gangs in the community.

"It is unfortunate what happened here, We are indeed scared. There is a group that is hell bent to do bad things to our community and our learners," Lesufi said.

'We are committed to kill gangsterism'

Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malabane said that the boys named by the teenager were not linked to any criminal activity.

"We have taken their fingerprints to satisfy the community and ensure that they are not involved in gang activity," Nkosi-Malobane said

Three people who were involved in the mob justice attack have been arrested. Police are also searching for six more people linked to the incident.

"We expect to make more arrests. Some of the culprits have fled, but we are committed to kill gangsterism and ensure that there is peace in this community," Nkosi-Malobane said.

"Our main concern is that we are three weeks away from examinations, and this school is a top performing school in the province," Lesufi said.

As a precautionary matter, parents will no longer be allowed onto the school premises.

'Blood Friday'

Meanwhile, in response to the mob justice attack, gang members will reportedly be on the prowl in the township, in what has been dubbed "Blood Friday". Nkosi-Malobane told News24 that law enforcement would be prepared.

"From the afternoon, police will be deployed in various parts of the township, and they will be present until Monday morning," she said.

Police would remain deployed around the school until preliminary examinations got underway.

"We request these criminals to respect our premises and ensure that our learners are safe and afforded their right to education in a safe environment," Lesufi concluded.

Source: News24

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