Mahalapye students riot

MAHALAPYE: Madiba Secondary School students went berserk on Monday, throwing away food, beating and pelting some staff members with stones and metal dishes.

They also smashed the common Hawkes Hall windows in their rage, demanding to be taught. As all hell broke loose, the police were called in to arrest the situation.

It is reported that with the help of the police, the District Commissioner, local Kgosi, school management and village elders, the students were persuaded to go home to give the government time to address their grievances.

The students were later led out of the school premises in batches to avoid a stampede. A few minutes later a Botswana Police Service helicopter was seen hovering over the village. By lunch hour, the school looked deserted, as students were all outside the school premises boarding combis to their respective homes.

In brief interviews with Mmegi, some students complained that they were not properly taught as almost three-quarters of the school’s teachers had joined the ongoing strike. “Just imagine, out of the nine teachers who often teach us, only two teach us while the rest are on strike. And we have just opened for the second term. Last term we did not receive any teaching. What is going to happen to us now?” one Form IV student asked.

The students stated that they have the right to education and appealed to government to address the grievances of the civil servants. They warned that they were going to regroup and join the striking teachers if only to put pressure on government to award a salary increase to civil setrvants.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday morning the acting school head addressed a small group of teachers, cautioning them not to speak to the media. The school deputy seemed to have taken his boss’s words seriously because not only did he refuse to answer Mmegi enquiries but he also threaten anyone who would “dare” take pictures.

“Don’t you dare take me pictures, sir. I don’t want any pictures taken here. If you want any comments, you must talk to our regional office. We are not suppose to give you any interviews and that’s it,” he furiously said. Outside the school dining hall, with its windows broken and tables turned upside-down, uniformed police, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) personnel and some students stood helplessly as they examined the damage done by the irate students.

Officer Commanding for No3 District, Senior Superintendent Boikhutso Dintwa, confirmed that “everything was fine in his area except for a few boys who misbehaved in Mahalapye”. However, he refused to state the extent of damage referring enquiries to the Regional Education Office.

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