Crèche set alight during KZN protests

The chairperson of a crèche that was burnt down during service delivery protests in the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal, says the future of little ones in his keep has been compromised.

"This is such a horrible situation for us on the ground. These are innocent babies and little children who will have their early education compromised," chairperson of the Khayelitsha crèche, Susan Mzobe, said on Wednesday.

The crèche, located in Mvutshini, near Margate, was burnt down on Tuesday after enraged protesters demanded water services and improved roads, the Ray Nkonyeni Municipality said.

"I am telling [you] it is a bad news bad situation. We have temporary space but it is not what we had at the crèche. Some of the children didn't go to crèche today."

Mzobe said the facility operated from 07:00 to 16:00 daily and housed children from zero to four years old. Many working parents and students rely on the facility, she added.

"We don't just keep the kids. We also try to teach them to write and colour pictures. These things are important for the development of the children."

Mzobe said it appeared that items were stolen before the crèche was burnt.

"We have books that are burnt and other items, but it seems like many things were looted before it was set alight."

She added: "Our children are being taught how to talk, how to behave. I mean they are growing and this time in their lives is so vital. This situation is very bad."

We will not give up

Despite the incident, they were not willing to give up on the school, Mzobe said.

"This school has been here for over 10 years. We have catered to this community and we will not stop. We are making an appeal for any help. You can rest assured we are not going to give up. We will always take care of our children."

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane said the Margate police station was investigating a case of public violence.

"No arrests have been made yet."

Ray Nkonyeni Municipality spokesperson Simon April said the aggrieved community was protesting against poor water supply.

"It's unfortunate that while the community was protesting against the state of the roads and water supply, they decided to burn down the crèche."

He said the crèche was used by about 80 children.

"Unfortunately, there's nothing the municipality can do right now as it won't be prioritising the rebuilding of the crèche."

He said the community's concerns would, however, be addressed at a meeting on June 16.

He added that various other issues relating to the Ray Nkonyeni Municipality would also be heard.

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