Rioters petrol bomb Kuils River special-needs school

Kuils River police were called to the scene.

Two hostel blocks at a special-needs school in Kuils River were petrol bombed in rioting believed to be linked to land invasions targeting vacant land behind the school grounds.

There were no pupils in the hostels, said Western Cape Education Department spokeswoman Bronagh Hammond.

While the damage was being assessed, the land invaders were rebuilding their shacks, to the detriment of the pupils, Ms Hammond said.

“This is totally unacceptable, no matter what one is protesting about, we simply cannot tolerate the damage of property that supports some of our most vulnerable learners.  They are the ones that suffer because of their actions,” she said.

Bet-El School for Epileptics caters for pupils with severe or moderate intellectual disability. It is on Old Nooiensfontein Drive, surrounded by pockets of vacant land.

 A 32-year-old woman, who did not want to be named as she feared being arrested for taking part in the protests, said she and more than 70 others had been evicted from backyards in the Kalkfontein area and had had no choice but to put up shacks on nearby vacant land.

City law enforcement had forcibly removed her from her shack and then broken it down, and she now had no materials to rebuild, she said.

She accused law enforcement of threatening to shoot people while evicting them. However, the City’s acting executive director for safety and security, Wayne le Roux, said the law enforcement department was unaware of the incident, but he said officers had removed land invaders.

Kuils River police spokeswoman Sergeant Liesel Beukes said no arrests were made.

“More than 500 people were involved in shops being looted, burning of tyres and petrol bombing the school,” she said.