Protest in Cape Town against education MEC

By Drum Digital
16 July 2012

About 50 people protested outside the Western Cape provincial government building in Cape Town on Monday to demand the sacking of provincial education MEC Donald Grant.

Leading the protest were the ANC in the province and the SA Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu). They wanted Grant to withdraw closure letters he sent to 27 under-performing schools, or face possible litigation.

They also wanted him to admit to what they claimed was his lying about a lack of textbooks and workbooks at various schools in Kraaifontein.

People stood at the entrance to the building and on an island between lanes, waving posters that read: "SOS -- Save Our Schools" and "Donald Duck must be fired!!!"

African National Congress provincial leader Marius Fransman said Grant had given phony reasons in June for the closure of some schools. A letter sent to a school in Bishop Lavis stated there were dwindling pupil numbers and no principal.

"The reality is that there has been over a 60 percent increase in learner numbers. The principal has been there for four years," Fransman said.

Sadtu provincial secretary Jonavon Rustin said Grant was destabilising communities in the province, as he had not consulted parents or school governing bodies.

"Grant is undermining the hard work which Sadtu has put in," he said.

Both he and Fransman said they would consider litigation if Grant did not reverse his decision.

ANC and Sadtu members delivered hundreds of books to Wallacedene, Bloekombos, Ekuthuleni and Enkululekweni primary schools at the start of the month, as they had apparently been without learning materials for six months.

Grant maintained the department had delivered all ordered textbooks and would remedy a shortage of one workbook by the third term, which began on Monday.

The workbook was apparently only needed in the second half of the year.

"If you can remember, his standard response was: 'you are lying'... The reality is last week, they actually sent books to those schools, that's the irony," Fransman said.

The ANC in the province said it was no longer interested in speaking to him. It wanted provincial premier Helen Zille to make a public announcement on whether he was telling the truth.

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