Creecy gets tough on school late comers
Johannesburg - If you are still walking to school at 10:00 then you are a truant and it is illegal, the Gauteng education MEC, Barbara Creecy, said on Saturday.
"Truancy is outlawed by the SA Schools Act and learners should be at bus pick-up points before 06:45am," said Creecy.
She was speaking to about 700 parents at an imbizo held at the Diepsloot Combined School hall on Saturday where she also launched Operation Wake up.
The imbizo follows a complaint that learners from Itirele-Zenzele Secondary School in Diepsloot regularly walked to school after 09:00.
She asked families to make sure their children were ready for school on time.
"We can't solve this problem alone. The learners don't sleep in our houses, they don't wake up with us in the morning.
"One of these days, together with the Department of Health and Social Development, we will round up these truants.
"We will give you a week or two to see if the situation normalises. If not, we will get tough."
Creecy said arriving late to school meant learners missed out on lessons that would benefit them, they disrupted discipline in class and were disregarding President Jacob Zuma's demand that teachers and learners should be in class, on time and learning for seven hours every day.
At the imbizo parents raised numerous disciplinary issues including "gangsterism on scholar buses, some learners carrying weapons to school and at home, as well as the need to build more schools in Diepsloot so that learners should not rely on scholar transport".
The MEC said she would establish a task team that would work with the community of Diepsloot to address all the issues raised.
The chairperson of the School Governing Body of Itirele-Zenzele, Lucas Loati, said a social project had recruited 50 security officials "to secure scholar transport pickup points, drive with learners to school and ensure that learners were not loitering in the school yard during school hours".