Pupils forced out of classrooms to join protest

2017-03-08 21:56
School building. (News24, file)

School building. (News24, file)

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Barberton - Mpumalanga's department of education has condemned the actions of protesters in Barberton who reportedly forced pupils at six schools in Emjindini to join them on Tuesday, Netwerk24 reported.

Thoko Khoza, the department's regional manager, told Anchen Coetzee of the website Africa in Touch News that principals had alerted him to the protesters' actions.

"The principals phoned me and asked what they should do as the pupils weren't safe. The protesters were coming into the classrooms to remove them."

Sergeant Gerald Sedibe said the protesters were demanding municipal jobs and that Barberton, which now forms part of the Mbombela municipality (Nelspruit), returns to having its own municipality.  

"We condemn the actions of protesters who looted shops. The police are investigating a case of public violence. No arrests have been made."

The education department said in a statement that disruptions at schools just 37 days into the new academic year were of great concern.

"It is denying children their constitutional right to education. Communities must realise that time isn't on our side. Our children are losing out all the way," said education spokesperson Jasper Zwane.

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