Police say GoodHope students who went on a rampage last Tuesday may face charges of malicious damage to property after five were identied as ring leaders. Deputy Divisional Commander South, Boikhutso Dintwe, told The Monitor on Friday that once investigations are over, students identified to have fuelled the disturbances would be taken to court. So far, the police have questioned 29 students, five of whom have been identified as possible ringleaders.
“Our preliminary investigations have identified five students and we are further questioning them to see the extent of their involvement in the disturbances at the school,” Dintwe said. He said more students were coming forward to be questioned and he was not sure when the investigations would be completed.
“Questioning of students will take a while as the students are many and more so that those being questioned are releasing more names of potential suspects,” Dintwe explained. The charge of malicious damage to property carries a sentence of not more than seven years. However Dintwe explained that since the students are minors, discretion is often used for an appropriate sentence. He added that minors are usually taken before the Customary Court where they receive lashing with the view that they have a lot to learn, therefore imprisonment is not appropriate.
Chief Education Officer for GoodHope Sub-Region, Basil Ncaagae said the school was struggling with a large number of students and this is
Ncaagae explained that in general, students at the school are well-behaved even though he acknowledged that there might be a few miscreants. He said after the Tuesday incident, order has been restored with the school authorities monitoring the situation as examinations continue.
Students are alleged to have gone of the rampage on Tuesday after security guards caught a male student in the girls’ hostels. The student was handcuffed but this did not go down well with the schoolgirls who raised alarm that led to the learners going on the rampage.
The instigators are alleged to have encouraged more students to riot, thereafter severely damaging the school property, especially the dining hall and lights in the hostels.