Angry parents shut down schools in Mpumalanga township

2016-05-03 20:48
(Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

(Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

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Mbombela – Angry parents from Kanyamazane outside Mpumalanga's capital city have forced local schools to send pupils home because of dirty toilets that don't flush at any of the primary schools in the area.

Kanyamazane police spokesperson, Warrant Officer Andries Shikwambane, told a News24 correspondent the parents began their protest at Tiphembeleni Primary School on Tuesday morning.

"After forcing learners from the school out of classrooms, the parents further went to disrupt learning at other schools.

"They complained of the poor toilet systems and dirt found around the Tiphembeleni school yard. They said they did send their complaints to the provincial department of education but got no positive response,” said Shikwambane.

He said the parents embarked on the protest to force education authorities to respond to their concerns.

“The parents entered at nearby Sitintile Secondary School where they forced learners out of their classrooms into the streets. They then went to other schools like Lekazi Secondary School and also forced learners out of classes,” said Shikwambane.

Peaceful protest

He said other school principals were then alerted through phone calls and were warned to send their learners home for their own safety.

“There was no damage to any properties and the protest was peaceful. We sent our members to warn other schools. We also monitored the situation in case of any violent actions,” said Shikwambane.

A school teacher who asked not to be named said the protest was unexpected. "We were surprised when police came to our school and warned us to send learners home for their safety. They said they were concerned as they did not know what the protesters could do next,” said the teacher.

She said the parents should have held their protest at the affected school. “Their action could fuel further violent action and renewed looting to spaza shops belonging to foreign nationals,” said the teacher.

A Grade 12 learner from a local secondary school, Dudu Nkosi, said they were not happy about the protest because it affected their lessons.

Unacceptable

“What these parents are doing is totally unacceptable. It paralyses our learning and we will be left behind in our syllabuses,” said Nkosi.

Provincial education spokesperson, Jasper Zwane, said the department had requested the school governing body at the school in question to urgently meet with them.

“This will enable the department to listen to their concerns and to indicate the extent to which their issues will be addressed. The department has an open door policy to ensure that every school community has access to it at all times,” said Zwane.

He added that the department has planned to provide water, sanitation systems and electricity to various schools in this financial year.

"A call was made to principals to indicate in case they have challenges regarding these so that the department can ensure that all schools have these necessities before the end of December 2016," said Zwane.

Read more on:    mbombela  |  education

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