Too little, too late for pupils?

2012-10-20 19:24

On the eve of the country’s all-important National Senior Certificate exams, pupils in Olifantshoek will finally be allowed to go back to school.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has brokered a deal with Olifantshoek residents that will see them allowing pupils to return to school.

Two primary schools and one high school in the Northern Cape town have been closed by protesting residents for more than four months.

Initially, 65 schools in the province’s John Taolo Gaetsewe district, which stretches from Olifantshoek to Kuruman, were closed.

This was after parents in communities across the district decided to keep their children out of school to force regional leaders to meet their demands.

The other schools have reopened, but parents in Olifantshoek have, until now, refused to let their children return to school.

Madonsela paid a second visit to the town this week after her first trip there last month ended in a deadlock.

Residents were adamant during Madonsela’s first visit that they would only let pupils go back to school if mayor Maria Diniza resigned.

Madonsela’s spokesperson Oupa Segalwe told City Press that during her second visit this week, the Public Protector met community leaders, Diniza and provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Janet Basson.

“During the meetings, it was agreed that the bail conditions of the four community leaders, who were arrested and charged following violent service-delivery protests in the area, would be relaxed,” said Segalwe.

In response to this, he said, community leaders had promised to ensure that pupils would be allowed to return to school.

The four, who were charged with inciting violence, are currently staying on a farm on the outskirts of Olifantshoek because of their bail conditions.

One of the four, Shoes Obuseng, confirmed the agreement with Madonsela.

Obuseng said as soon as their bail conditions were formally relaxed, the four would call a community meeting and discuss the reopening of schools.

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