South Africa protesters torch schools in Limpopo province

School burnt in South Africa Image copyright ENCA
Image caption Schools and other state-owned buildings are often targeted by angry protesters

Protesters have burnt 13 schools in two areas in South Africa's northern Limpopo province in a violent dispute over district boundaries, police say.

Government officials appealed for an end to the violence, saying it affected the education of hundreds of children.

Protesters say moves to include their neighbourhoods into a new municipality would delay efforts to get them better housing and water.

South Africa is due to hold key local government elections in August.

Opposition parties hope to make gains at the polls, arguing that the governing African National Congress (ANC) has failed to improve basic services during its 22-year rule.

The ANC disputes this, saying most people have a far better standard of living since it took power at the end of minority rule in 1994.

Eight of the 13 schools were torched overnight, bringing to 13 the number of schools targeted since Monday, reports the BBC's Pumza Fihlani from the main city Johannesburg.

Image copyright ENCA
Image caption The government says communities will be worse off by destroying buildings

On Friday, protesters failed in a court bid to prevent the inclusion of the mainly poor Vuwani and Livubu areas into a new district authority.

The government says the plan is vital to developing the two communities.

South Africa has a history of violent demonstrations, going back to the days when people protested minority rule and it seems that this attitude still remains, our correspondent says.

People are often so frustrated about the lack of basic services like electricity and water that they resort to vandalism, targeting schools, libraries and even clinics, she adds.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption South Africa has a long history of street protests

The government has often criticised the violence, saying it would leave communities worse off.

Limpopo is one of South Africa's poorest provinces, where the ANC has won previous elections by an overwhelming majority.

The main opposition parties, the Democratic Alliance and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), hope to weaken the ANC's hold in the province in the August elections.

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