Twenty one people, arrested in connection with the torching of schools, buildings and cars in Vuwani and the surrounding areas during a municipal boundary dispute, are expected to appear in the Malamulele Magistrate’s Court on Monday, police said.
Police spokesperson Colonel Malesela Ledwaba said the arrests came after 24 schools were damaged in Vuwani, Levubu and Hlangani in Limpopo over the past week.
Twenty of the schools were burnt down, while four were damaged.
Tribal offices, a satellite police station and the Post Office at Mashau village were also torched, and numerous vehicles were damaged.
Police were monitoring the situation and said more arrests were expected.
Minister of State Security David Mahlobo has been among security officials who have visited the area in an attempt to quell the unrest.
The protests escalated when residents lost a court battle to have the area remain under Makhado, instead of being merged into a new municipality with Malamulele.
Twenty six thousand learners have been left without schools.
Speaking in parliament on Thursday, President Jacob Zuma said he believed there was more to the burning down of the schools than just a protest.
“This really raises eyebrows very seriously. Seventeen schools, that is not a small thing. I think we need to look deeper into this because there have been rumours that in many of these protests there are some motives behind and people take advantage of them. This is just shocking. If we are talking about a school or two it’s one thing, 17 schools looks suspicious and I hope the country is taking note of this, [sic]” he said.
Co-operative Governance Minister Des Van Rooyen said the residents should appeal the dermacation decision.
“No-one can reverse the demarcation board’s decision. It’s only the court of law that can do that. The government can’t reverse it. That is why we encourage those who are not happy with the findings of the Supreme Court to take this to appeal,” he said on Thursday.