Mandela condemns fire at school his grandfather had placed under his protection
Chief Zwelivelile "Mandla" Mandela has condemned the burning of the Jongintaba Senior Secondary School during a scholar transport protest by the local community in the Eastern Cape.
Although the school was built by the community‚ it was re-built by the late president Nelson Mandela. The Daily Dispatch reports Mandela‚ who was born in Mvezo before his family moved to Qunu‚ was brought up in Mqhekezweni under the guardianship of then AbaThembu regent king Jongintaba Dalindyebo - whom the school was named after.
"We cannot allow President Mandela's legacy to be burnt down for any reason‚" Mandla Mandela said in a statement.
"Vandalism of this nature‚ masked as civil protest‚ has no place in a democracy and only serves to deprive already under developed communities of much needed educational infrastructure‚ leaving pupils exposed to learning under inadequate conditions‚"
"I call on the community of Mqhekezweni and regional law enforcement authorities to ensure that those who delight in destruction‚ vandalism and other macabre acts of self-defeating protest are identified‚ charged and prosecuted.
"Communities must take responsibility for ensuring that legitimate protest action is not abused to commit criminal acts that only deepens their own impoverishment."
Mandela‚ who is also an MP‚ urged education authorities to investigate and resolve community grievances related to scholar transport.
He added: "uNkosi Dalibhunga and generations of struggle stalwarts before him devoted their lives to struggle so that freedom‚ justice‚ peace‚ equal access to education and decent infrastructure are within reach of every South African child.
"We are very saddened that Madiba's hard work can be so thoughtlessly undermined and destroyed by arsonists."
The Dispatch reported that school records‚ books and equipment went up in flames in a fire that devoured the entire administration block including the principal’s and staff offices at the school in Mqhekezweni village outside Mthatha on Thursday August 10.
Police are investigating a case of arson.