Home South African Community members loot food from high school after death of learners

Community members loot food from high school after death of learners

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Community members looted food supplies from the National School Nutrition Programme at a Gauteng high school after a Grade 12 learner collapsed during a memorial service for a Grade 10 learner who had died.

Angry community members looted food at David Makhubo High School in Kaalfontein in Gauteng. File picture

GAUTENG Education MEC Matome Chiloane has “regrettably” confirmed the tragic deaths of two learners from David Makhubo High School in Kaalfontein.

A Grade 12 learner collapsed and died on Thursday during the memorial service for a Grade 10 boy who had passed away from an illness.

The Grade 10 learner died on May 2.

Gauteng Education Department spokesperson Steve Mabona said the Grade 12 boy collapsed inside the school yard.

“Educators were promptly alerted by learners of this incident, and despite the initial assumption that the learner fainted, the situation was grave. Emergency services were called and the learner’s parents were informed,” said Mabona.

He added that “out of a need to maintain calm”, the collapse of the Grade 12 learner was not immediately disclosed to the people gathered at the memorial service of the Grade 10 boy “to prevent panic”.

“Regrettably, the (Grade 12) learner did not survive and this news was disclosed at an assembly the following day, Friday, May 10, 2024,” said Mabona.

“Before the announcement could be made, some learners, overwhelmed by the unfolding events, experienced fainting spells. This incident has been captured in videos that have since gone viral on social media platforms.”

Mabona added that chaos ensued on Friday when some community members entered the school premises.

“In the turmoil, there were instances of learners being driven out of the school grounds and unfortunate acts of looting of school resources, including food supplies from the National School Nutrition Programme,” he said.

“Circuit management were on site on Thursday to oversee the handling of the situation post-collapse and on Friday during the assembly and subsequent disruptions.”

The police in Gauteng are investigating the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of the Grade 12 learner.

Meanwhile, Chiloane said all efforts were being made to understand the sequence of events that led to the death of the learner.

“We wish to extend our sincerest condolences to the bereaved families following these tragic incidents. Currently, our priority is to provide all necessary support to the learners, staff and families impacted by these tragedies,” he said.

“Counselling services and other forms of support are being extended to assist the school community during this incredibly difficult time.”

Last week, the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, and Chiloane visited Eqinisweni Secondary School in Gauteng following the suicides of four learners.

The deceased learners are three girls and one boy.

At the time, the national spokesperson for the Basic Education Department, Elijah Mhlanga, said a Grade 10 learner was reportedly rushed to a local clinic on April 26, where she was declared dead.

“A Grade 11 girl learner was found dead at home by her parents on Thursday, May 2. On Friday, May 3, a Grade 11 boy learner was hospitalised and also sadly passed away while receiving medical attention. The fourth learner, who was in Grade 12, passed away while being transported to a nearby clinic on Sunday, May 5,” said Mhlanga.

“All the learners are believed to have consumed a poisonous substance, which led to their untimely demise.”

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