Pupils stopped from attending school, forced to join strike

2014-10-20 14:38

Pupils at several Limpopo schools, including matriculants, were prevented from attending classes and writing exams today because of a service delivery protest.

“Learners from Maphotho, Solomondale, Sebayeng primary schools and Baphutheng, Mafolofolo and Leruleng secondary schools were prevented [from going] ... to school and [were] forced ... to join the strike,” Democratic Alliance Limpopo leader Jacques Smalle said.

“The DA is deeply concerned that learners in Grade 12 will not be able to write their final-year exams scheduled to commence today.”

Smalle said residents blocked roads with burning tyres and rocks to protest against a lack of services in the area.

“The DA has requested [education] MEC [Thembisile] Nwedamutswu to urgently arrange alternative plans to accommodate the matric learners who did not write their exams today.”

Provincial education spokesperson Paena Galane clarified that independent schools were starting their matric exams today.

“[Government school] matric exams will start on the 28th.”

Galane said parents had recently started to prevent their children from attending school because of service delivery problems. He cited the disruption of teaching and learning in Mankweng in August due to protests as an example.

“We had an intervention when we launched the countdown to exams 2014 – we called community leaders, parents and principals all together under one roof,” he said.

“We said that whatever the problem, the issue of closing schools is not a solution. They must find other means of raising issues.”

He said it was concerning that parents were still preventing pupils from attending school.

“We are hopeful that when we start examinations next week we will not have these kinds of issues.”

Police spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said today that police were monitoring protests in Solomondale and Lebowakgomo.

“We don’t know the number of protesters, but we know that they are fighting about water and electricity,” he said.

“Officers are monitoring the situation. Everything is still fine. We are just clearing barricades on the roads.”

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