Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, EFF spokesperson and former pupil at Kutlo-Tharo Secondary School, which was set alight on Wednesday morning, has called on party members to patrol every school in the Vaal.
The school has suffered 17 break-ins since August last year.
In the past 15 days, three schools have been torched in Sebokeng.
Ndlozi, who began Grade 8 at the school in 1998, said he was saddened by the incident.
“This school has educated me, and I came as soon as I heard that it had been torched. It comes with a great pain. We read this event as deliberate act of sabotage, organised for whatever purpose. It is basically to terrorise education.
“It is literally not people stealing anything. There may have been 17 instances of theft, but it is hard to read the torching of school as an instance of theft. The very superficial reading must be that these people wanted to deliberately sabotage the starting of normal resumption of education today.”
Residents who spoke News24 said a lack of water had prevented them from trying to put out the flames.
Emfuleni spokesperson Stanley Gaba confirmed that there was a lack of water supply in parts of Sebokeng and Evaton, including at Khutlo-Tharo Secondary School.
Gaba said the problem was caused by lack of electricity supply at a local reservoir over the weekend. He said power had since been fully restored and that the reservoir was currently pumping water. Gaba promised that residents should expect water from their taps later in the afternoon or evening.
“There are many failures, and one of the reasons why it took a long time is because it is not an isolated school and, geographically, is directly within houses and homes… They couldn’t address the fire with urgency, because there is no water.
Ndlozi said: “There is no water in the entire community and at a local clinic, and people are being turned away because they can’t function without water.”
Nldozi, who was standing next to Gauteng Premier David Makhura and Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, told Makhura the big problem in the Sedibeng region was that there was no government there.
“There is a serious problem of dysfunction, and it must be put out that these acts are taking advantage of the leadership crisis that is happening in government in this area, which is reflected by all these problems.
“The entire school in general is a school going down and is dilapidated. A classroom I went in is in the same condition it was in in 1998. There is a big problem of service that must be acknowledged,” he said.
Ndlozi said Makhura couldn’t ask the community to take care of things that were not supported in terms of resources.
“We are calling on all branches of the EFF in Sedibeng to start patrolling each and every school in the area. Let us resist the deliberate sabotage of our schools. There is no political intention in post-democratic South Africa that can be justified in torching a school.
“There is no business or economic desperation that can ever justify anybody torching a school. It is literally like stealing a future from our people.”
Ndlozi called on Lesufi to return security to schools with immediate effect.
Meanwhile, Gauteng ANC spokesperson Bones Modise said they were worried that if the torching of schools was not stopped immediately, it would become the norm.
“What is the intention of burning a school? What is the intention of burning an administration block of a school? Have these people ever in their lives been students? Do they understand the importance of one going to school?
“What about the community? These people stay within the community. There is a parent who knows that her child has burnt a school, but will never come forward,” Modise said.