162 pupils abducted at night from North West school in five bakkie loads
An apparently drunk group of people pretending to be parents arrived at a North West school on Tuesday night and abducted 162 pupils.
The North West education department relayed their dismay over the incident on Wednesday.
The department said that about 8pm on Tuesday, the mob arrived at the Boons Mega Farm School gates in four vehicles. They wanted the Tirelong Secondary School pupils who had been accommodated at the farm school after criminals stole electricity cables, water taps, the roof, books, window frames, doors and kitchen utensils from the school.
The Tirelong school still does not have running water or electricity and the pupils had to be moved to ensure they did not miss out on their education.
They were sent to the Moedwil, Naauwpoort and Boons Mega Farm Schools.
According to the department, when the perpetrators arrived at the gate the security guards refused to let them in as they could not provide their necessary identifications.
This caused a scene and the would-be parents broke a small gate going into the school. Security guards managed to prevent the drunkards from entering.
The mob then blew whistles to attract the attention of the Tirelong schoolboys who broke down hostel doors, windows and burglar guards to force their way out.
The department alleges they demanded other children leave with them.
The perpetrators then allegedly took the 162 pupils in five bakkie loads — the last leaving at 5am — and left them “on the streets”.
Only 10 pupils remained at the school, having stood their ground, refusing to leave without their parents' permission.
The provincial education MEC, Mmaphefo Matsemela, condemned the incident and wants the perpetrators brought to book.
“We are very disappointed by such horrible incidents that are continuing in our boarding schools. This needs to be stopped immediately and the people behind these incidents must be arrested.
“They removed learners from our schools under the pretext of being parents. We are in possession of video clips to substantiate that these were not parents.
“What is disturbing us more is that they don't take the learners to their homes, they leave them on the streets. They expose our children to extreme danger. We want the police to arrest everyone involved in this unaccepted practice.”
According to the department this has happened before at the Naauwpoort Mega Farm School. No date was given but the department said 54 pupils were abducted from the hostel.
The department has arranged for counselling for the 10 boys who stayed behind.
A case of malicious damage to property and abduction has been opened with the police.