Booze, dagga on 1st day of school

Pretoria - With education authorities claiming that the first day of the 2011 school year "proceeded well", news reports on Thursday revealed some pupils were drinking ciders, supposedly on their way to school.

According to other reports one high school had a dagga field "the size of a football field", and at another, parts of the desks had allegedly been stolen for firewood.

Under the front page headline "Booze High", the Sowetan newspaper published pictures of three high school pupils in uniform, from two schools in Kagiso near Krugersdorp, drinking cider.

It reported that two of the boys came from Madiba Combined School, while the third was identified as attending Mandisa Shiceka Secondary School.

The Sowetan quoted Madiba's deputy principal Salthiel Dijoe promising to take action against the two pupils.

Dagga plantation


In another article it reported that pupils at Boitumelong High School in Tembisa "will attend classes in a yard infested with dagga plants". The plantation was "the size of a soccer field".

With photographs showing the plantation, the report quoted a seven-year-old as saying: "I can show you what a dagga plant looks like. People smoke it every day in the yard."

According to the article the yard was meant to be a sports field.

On the front page of South Africa's largest circulating daily newspaper, the Daily Sun, were photos of pupils from Alexandra High School sitting at the metal frames of what were once desks. According to the report, the wood had been stolen for fire wood.

Both newspapers reported that attempts to obtain comment from the Gauteng education department had been unsuccessful.

On Wednesday department spokesperson Charles Phahlane said: "We are pleased that the first day of schooling in Gauteng proceeded well."

On Thursday Sapa was not able to immediately obtain reaction from the department on the reports.

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