Thousands of Limpopo pupils to continue to miss school over tar road impasse

2019-06-21 21:23
Zebediela residents in Limpopo are demanding roads be tarred in their area. (Twitter, file)

Zebediela residents in Limpopo are demanding roads be tarred in their area. (Twitter, file)

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Residents of Zebediela in Limpopo vowed on Friday to continue with the shutdown of the area, where almost 3 000 pupils have been out of class since March.

The residents, who are demanding a tarred road in the area, were irked by the postponement of a case in which 28 people face charges of incitement and public violence. They appeared in Magatle Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

The 28 include four men who are seen as the leaders of the protest. The four - Tumelo Thobejane, Johannes Madisha, Jonas Makhafola and Joseph Kale - were earlier denied bail.

The remaining 24 people are out on bail and the case postponed to July 26.

The residents descended on the court in numbers to support the accused. They later held a mass meeting in Madisha Ditoro village where, a resolution was again taken to continue with the shutdown.

They also reiterated their call for Premier Stan Mathabatha to visit the area to address their demand for a tarred road.

The matter dates back to 2017 when residents approached the local municipality with their demand. They say promises were made but not fulfilled.

Community leader John Kgole said: "In March [this year], the residents decided to take the pupils out of the schools to press for their demand. They even marched to the Office of the Premier."

The nearly 3 000 pupils from nine schools have not been in class for four months. Matric pupils have also missed their mid-year exams.

A week ago, a high level government delegation comprising of three MECs visited the area in a bid to break the impasse but in vain.

The premier's spokesperson, Kenny Mathivha, told News24 that a committee comprising three departments, a local municipality and traditional authority had been established to resolve the matter.

"There is nothing the premier can say that has not been said so far. It has to be done in accordance with what has to be done. There is continuous engagement with the community," Mathivha said.

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