Police monitor Grabouw protest

2012-03-19 21:39

Johannesburg - Police would continue to monitor Grabouw on Monday night after service delivery protests related to education erupted earlier in the day, Western Cape police said.

Warrant Officer November Filander said the situation in Grabouw was quiet and no incidents were reported by 19:30 on Monday.

"The police will be there the whole night and the whole day tomorrow. We will be there until everything is sorted out."

On Monday morning the N2 highway at Grabouw was closed after protesters disrupted the flow of traffic.

Captain Frederick van Wyk said a group of people threw stones in the morning and barricaded the road.

An SABC crew was pelted with stones while broadcasting from the scene for the morning radio news. Stun grenades and rubber bullets were used to disperse the crowd.

Van Wyk said nearly 2 000 people marched to the Groenberg High School.

The provincial education department said the protesters were members of the Elgin Grabouw Civic Organisation, who had planned to march in Grabouw on Monday to hand over a memorandum of demands to education MEC Donald Grant.

Organisation chairman John Michels was quoted in the Cape Times as saying: "If he is not here to receive it, we will march to Cape Town."

The troubled Umyezo Wama Apile combined school in Grabouw was closed last week until April because of teaching disruptions.

Civic organisation members barged into the school two weeks ago to demand that a new school be built.

Grant said the organisation was not acting in the interests of the community and its children. Instead, it was protecting and promoting its 'own personal political interests', he said in a speech prepared for delivery in Cape Town.

"Members of this organisation continue to disrupt schools, businesses and the general community under the guise that they are protecting the rights of learners at Umyezo Wama Apile school."

This was despite a resolution by provincial government to have a new school running by April 10.

Grant said he had agreed to meet chairperson Michels on Sunday to discuss a plan and way forward, but the meeting had not gone ahead after Michels delayed it for hours, then insisted on new conditions.