Vuwani protests deepen Limpopo education dept's financial woes

2016-05-11 18:00
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PICS: School in ashes after violent Vuwani protests

Protesters have torched schools during violent protests against the redrawing of municipal boundaries ahead of local elections. View pics here.

Polokwane - The Limpopo education department is scrambling for funds to accommodate displaced learners as violent protests in Vuwani persist, spokesperson Dr Naledzani Rasila told News24 on Wednesday. 

"As the province, we already had financial problems. We had a backlog because of the storm damage to our schools last year. We didn't have enough funds to rebuild. This has taken us a step back."

Vuwani descended into chaos once again, with residents erecting burning barricades and stoning cars moments after State Security Minister David Mahlobo had claimed the roads were open again, News24 reported earlier on Wednesday.

Residents blocked the main road into the region with burning objects and hurled stones at passing vehicles and the police who had responded to the incident.

Police used rubber bullets to disperse the group.

Limpopo Education MEC Ishmael Kgetjepe and Premier Stanley Mathabatha were in talks with stakeholders and traditional leaders to remedy the situation, said Rasila.

"We are continuing to engage stakeholders with the aim of finding quick solutions. The MEC and the premier need to ensure the area is in a right state for those learners. 

"Some areas are not easily accessible, making this a challenge. Our main aim is for learners to get back to school as soon as possible, even if it means an extra month dedicated to schooling," he said.

Rasila said options to accommodate displaced learners may include erecting temporary structures and some learners may need to be transported to neighbouring schools.

Thousands of children in villages in the Vuwani area have been displaced after 24 schools were set alight. Nineteen of them were burnt to the ground over the past few days.

The violence started after the Limpopo High Court last Friday dismissed a bid by residents to not be included in a new municipality.

They wanted to stay in the Makhado municipality.

Read more on:    polokwane  |  protests  |  local government  |  education  |  crime

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