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By Citizen Reporter


WATCH: Lesufi blames ‘mindless thugs’ after Gauteng school burns down

Damage at the school is estimated at R4 million and fire marshals at the scene believe arson is the cause.

A fire in the early hours of Thursday morning has gutted Tokelo High School in Evaton, in the South of Johannesburg.

Acting Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi, who is also Gauteng’s MEC for education, attributed the damage to social media’s “mindless thugs”.

The Gauteng department of education has since released a statement on behalf of Lesufi, indicating that fire marshals on the scene believe the cause of the fire was arson.

The department is “disappointed that Tokelo High School was set alight”.

“Mr Lesufi wishes to inform that, the Principal of Tokelo High School received information in the early hours of Thursday, January 2 2020, that the school was on fire.”

“Subsequently, firefighters were dispatched and managed to extinguish the fire. Unfortunately, four ICT Classrooms on the first floor of a block of eight classes burnt down to ashes.

“Sadly, learner material retrievals and new stock was temporarily stored in one room and were all destroyed by fire. The loss is estimated at approximately R4 million. Engineers will assist the department to determine which part of the block may be utilised.

“Accordingly, fire marshals on scene put the cause as pure arson. Police were on scene and are also investigating. We wish to call upon anyone who might have information on this barbaric act to share the same with the police.

“We are hopeful that teaching and learning will not be hampered when schools open accordingly.

“We wish to reiterate our disappointment in such incidents because they really derail our plans. Reality is that we do not have funds to repair the school. The department will check what can be salvaged from the burnt school,” the statement concludes.

Tokelo Secondary School made headlines in October, 2019 after a grade 9 pupil stabbed and killed a grade 1o pupil after the pair got into a fight, allegedly over a cellphone.

The 17-year-old grade 10 pupil died on the scene, while the grade 9 pupil was arrested. Police are investigating a murder. Lesufi expressed shock at the incident at the time.

(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)

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