ANGRY pupils have destroyed a school built by the late former president, Nelson Mandela.
In the early hours of yesterday morning, Jongintaba Senior Secondary School in Mqhekezweni Village, near Mthatha, went up in flames.
By the time the SunTeam arrived on the scene in the afternoon, the admin block was completely destroyed and there were still small fires burning.
No pupils were at the scene as teaching had been suspended.
The classrooms at the school, built in modern style, survived only because the admin block stood apart from the classrooms.
Officials from the education department were at the scene to assess the damage. According to villagers, all hell broke loose over a lack of scholar transport.
“On Monday some pupils started throwing stones at a school bus passing by with pupils from another school. They said they also wanted transport as they were tired of walking long distances,” said a villager.
“By Tuesday they were threatening to break all the school’s windows. Then we were woken up at about 2am yesterday and found the school on fire.
“It took about three hours for firefighters to arrive.”
The school was built 17 years ago by Mandela and named after the man who raised him, Chief Jongintaba Mtirara.
Mandela said the chief had taught him leadership skills.
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Mzukisi Fatyela said no arrests had been made, but a case of arson was opened.
Provincial education spokesman Malibongwe Mtima said he was still speaking to regional officials about the matter.
“A report is being compiled by the district in addition to the police investigation. We cannot comment on allegations that pupils burned the school because of scholar transport issues.”