Monday, September 28, 2020

Abandoned school turned into brothel and criminal hideout

Bluetown residents have raised complaints that criminals and prostitutes have taken over the dilapidated buildings that used to house Tatitown Primary School and converted the premises into a hideout and storage center where they keep the spoils of their infamous trade.

What was at some point the pride of Bluetown residents has now been converted into the devil’s playground providing not only a hideout for criminals but also an ideal brothel for prostitutes.
It has also emerged that even some residents of the location, especially the youth use the old building as a rendezvous for sexual escapades and other kinds of mischief, like smoking marijuana.

The Sunday Standard can reveal that there have in the past been reports that residents of surrounding locations, like Monarch, who pass near the school on their way home, have been attacked by criminals who use the school as an ambush site where they waylay unsuspecting travelers and dispossess them of their valuables.

The former school is nestled in a densely bushed area surrounded by tall trees and a thicket of bushes which provide a perfect cover for criminals.
While the Francistown City Council previously provided security guards to patrol the area, residents have revealed that they have not sighted any of them recently.

“One security guard is not enough to man such a vast and secluded area as he can be easily overpowered by criminals,” said one resident. Some residents have also alleged that the presence of security guards is not of any use as they too have also found a way of making a quick buck from this unfortunate situation.

They allege that the security guards, who are rarely supervised, have also joined the thriving sex trade at the premises as they allow the prostitutes to service their clients at the premises for a fee. They are also alleged to be in cahoots with criminals as they turn a blind eye to their escapades even going as far as allowing them to store their stolen goods at the premises for a share of the spoils.

The FCC decided to abandon the premises after it emerged that the location of the school and its dilapidated structures pose a danger to pupils. The school was located in the notorious Bluetowm location which is famous for its criminal activities.

That the school was in a secluded area surrounded by dense bushes also posed a danger to both teachers and pupils as they were, on more than one occasion, waylaid by criminals and rapists. The police have in the past handled cases concerning pupils and teachers who were mugged while passing through the dense bushes to and from the school.

The school is also situated at the confluence of the Ntshe and Tati rivers and was susceptible to flooding during heavy rains. Many young lives have in the past been lost as pupils and children from the nearby location drowned in the river. Apart from the fact that the school was in a dangerous area it had no room for expansion and could, therefore, not be developed to meet the escalating demands posed by the developing education system.

”For example the school did not have a playground and it was very difficult for pupils to engage in sports activities” said a former teacher.

The FCC, therefore, made a decision to move the school to another area along the Maun highway. While some councilors have in the past proposed that the abandoned premises be put to good use, like housing a brigade, experts have commented that the present condition of the school and its close proximity to the river render it inappropriate for any long term developments.

Some residents have suggested that instead of leaving the buildings as they are the FCC should tear the premises down.

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.