Police have deployed additional public order police to the Zaaiplaas area outside Groblersdal, after the school administration block at Leriane Secondary School in Holneck village was set alight on Friday evening.
Police spokesperson, lieutenant colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said the provincial commissioner in Limpopo, lieutenant general Nneke Ledwaba has ordered the deployment of additional POPS members to the Zaaiplaas area to normalise the situation.
He said police and the fire department had been notified after a passer-by had noticed flames coming from the administration block of the school.
Ngoepe said this was the second school administration building to be set alight, with the Rehlahlilwe Primary School in Keerom, also in the Zaaiplaas area, having been torched. He said a police van had also been torched and a police officer injured in a separate incident.
“It is alleged that a group of community members went on [a] rampage and torched this building before running away,” he said, speaking of the Leriane Secondary School fire.
Ngoepe said the protests stemmed from protest action, which started a week ago after a group of community members from Zaaiplaas barricaded the R579 road.
He said the protests turned violent and several cases of malicious damage to property, assault and two counts of arson were opened.
“Since these violent protests started in the area, five suspects, aged between 28 and 50, have been arrested for public violence,” he said.
Ngoepe said more arrests were imminent, with police honing in on the ringleaders behind the unrest. He said investigations were ongoing, and police were monitoring the situation in the area.
Reiterating his warning to all the communities in the Zaaiplaas area, Ledwaba said anyone involved in the recent spate of violent activity, characterized by the destruction of property, would be hunted down and brought to book.
He called on communities intending to protest to do so within the boundaries of the law.
“Destroying schools is detrimental to the future of our children and it cannot be allowed.
“Perpetrators of these barbaric acts will meet the full might of the law,” said Ledwaba.