Johannesburg - Parents who have prevented their children from attending school in Kuruman in the Northern Cape are violating their human rights, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi said in an opinion piece published on Wednesday.
"The action by some of the residents who have prevented their children from attending school is a national tragedy. No child should be prevented from accessing his or her right to education," she said in a commentary in The New Age.
"In addition, it constitutes a gross violation of human rights..."
In terms of the SA Schools Act, every parent has the responsibility to ensure that their children attend school and no-one should prevent them from attending classes, she said.
Muthambi said the Act stated anyone who prevents a pupil from attending school can be convicted and fined, or imprisoned for up to six months.
A group calling themselves the Road Forum began protesting in Kuruman in June, demanding that a 130km stretch of road in the John Taolo Gaetsewe district municipality be tarred.
The protesters stopped pupils and staff from going to school and some school buildings have been torched.
On Tuesday, SABC News reported that pupils were still not back at school.
On Monday Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said construction on the tar road would start in two weeks.