Following disruptions of classes at Unity Secondary School on Wednesday, MEC for Education in Gauteng Panyaza Lesufi visited learners and teachers at the school to try and calm tensions in the area on Friday.
Lesufi went to offer support to the learners and teachers following Wednesday’s gruesome torching of an alleged gang member by Daveyton community members in full view of pupils.
The torching took place after community members dragged him to the school to point out a learner suspected to be part of the gang.
Lesufi spoke against the act of violence by community members and strongly condemned disrupting schools.
“We strongly condemn the disruption of schooling and urge the community to remain calm and allow the law to take its cause. Schools are centres of teaching and learning, they should be treated as such,” said Lesufi.
However, a student who saw the incident spoke to City Press and said that learners feared for their lives.
“There is a lot of absenteeism and learners are not coming to school anymore because of the danger that’s happening. It is not safe for us, the teachers and the school,” said learner, who’s name is withheld for safety reasons.
“Whatever they talked about inside the meeting today I did not tolerate, because there is no action taken by the government. I don’t think [the visit by the MEC] is enough, because what they said is that they are just going to give us support,” the learner said.
He added that the gang members have not yet been arrested and they are still threatening some of the students, with the learner who was suspected of being in the gang already in hiding.
“Threats of being killed, like if you pass the news to the media, then they are going to be kill you.”
The gang is suspected of committing crimes such as robberies and murders in the area.
The man who was necklaced is currently recovering in hospital with the police investigating the matter.
Another suspected gang member was allegedly shot dead and was about to be burnt when the police arrived and the community members dispersed.
No one has been arrested and the police are still investigating the incident.
The police said there is no evidence of the two men being involved in any crimes, but their fingerprints have been taken to the local criminal record centre for identification.
Police spokesperson Mathapelo Peters said that a high level task team has been established to help monitor the situation in the area.
She said the task team “will work around the clock to ensure the arrest of those responsible for the acts of mob justice.”
“Police are appealing to anyone who might have witnessed the incidents, to assist with information towards the arrest of the perpetrators. The situation is calm, as police have heightened visibility. Police will remain in the area until normality is restored,” said Peters.
The below pictures might be sensitive to some readers. Caution is advised:
Members of the Daveyton communtiy out side the police station. Picture: Supplied
The suspected gang member who was set alight in Daveyton. Picture: Supplied
The suspected gang member after he was burned and beaten. Picture: Supplied