The Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma has strongly condemned incidents where some parents at Mmametlhake violently stormed into schools, disrupted the process of teaching and learning claiming that their children were not safe from the COVID-19 pandemic.
This unlawful act happened on Thursday, 25 June 2020, at Seabe Village in Mmametlhake and General Zuma submits that it must not be condoned nor supported by anyone as it portrays a degree of an unpatriotic society and the police will make arrests.
General Zuma further indicated that the government through the executive authority of the National Command Council and scientists, unanimously took a decision to resume schooling in the country. All precautionary health protocols were put in place to be adhered to by the Department of Education with strict compliance thereof.
The police as the law enforcement agency, hold a view that parents should take government into confidence in its endeavour to restore the country back to its originality, economically as well as educationally.
“Therefore, we see no reason why a section of parents would want to force the government to renege from its principled decision,” said General Zuma.
Police observed in dismay the involvement of an elderly person and an opinion leader who were caught aggressively participating in this shameful act of calling for the closure of schools.
The narrative by police spirals from the fact that two of the 13 suspects arrested, one is a 77-year-old pensioner and the other a Councillor.
“It is therefore unacceptable that when police are responding to allegations of lawlessness, they discover that an elderly citizen as well as a public representative are the ones inciting such a despicable act,” said General Zuma.
General Zuma also took this opportunity to remind the community that the reopening of schools is aimed at recovering the time lost due to the lockdown period.
Therefore, the police will not allow a minority group to engage in unlawful ways to destroy the much awaited recovery plan aimed at aiding our children.
The General is therefore making a clarion call to all community members not to attempt to emulate what these suspects have done as this is a serious offense.
The allegations levelled against the suspects are viewed by the police in a serious light and they are condemned in the strongest possible terms.
What the police have gathered is that the group allegedly connived with each other and went to Dikotelo Combined, Ramoshidi as well as Seage High Schools in Seabe village, where in Dikotelo, they were allegedly found inside the yard of the school premises driving in two cars.
According to reports, the group was disrupting schools by forcefully removing children from classes, also disrupting the process of teaching and learning.
Police intervened and stopped them from further escalating the situation hence the arrests. They also seized two vehicles which were used during this criminal act.
“As custodians of the law, we cannot allow this anarchy to rule and continue unabated, hence the arrest. I strongly hold a view that despite the concerns that people might have, however, they cannot be allowed to be unruly. I, therefore, urge the community to desist from perpetuating violence as a means to air their grievances, ” said Provincial Commissioner, General Zuma.
All the suspects were slammed with a R500 bail each and will be back at the Mbibane Magistrate’s Court on 14 August 2020.