Zebediela residents warned pupils should return to school or face prosecution

2019-07-09 05:14
(Gallo Images/Getty Images)

(Gallo Images/Getty Images)

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Limpopo Education MEC Polly Boshielo has threatened Zebediela residents with legal action if they refuse to allow nearly 3 000 pupils to return to class when schools officially reopen on Tuesday.

They have not been at school for more than three months after residents forced them out of class to press their demand for a tarred road in the area.

READ: Residents reject plan to allow pupils in Zebediela to go back to school

Boshielo told News24 that she had written to the school governing bodies of the affected nine schools and community leaders to allow the pupils to return to class.

"What we have done in terms of the South African Schools Act, we have written to the parents to say that I'm going to take them to court when the schools reopen [on July 9] if the schoolchildren are not in class.

"In terms of the act, they are liable for a fine or imprisonment. So, I'm going to invoke the act," Boshieleo said.

Demands

She added some parents had contacted her showing their willingness to let the pupils return to class.

"We have already arranged extra classes for the pupils. We have also already arranged social workers and psychologists to assist them because they have not been in class for a long time," Boshielo said.

However, a community leader, who wanted to remain anonymous, said the schools would remain shut until their demands were met.

"The pupils will not be allowed back to school. The community has taken a resolution to that effect," he added.

The matter dates to 2017 when residents approached the local municipality to demand a 5km tarred road in the area. Their demand came to a head when they shut down nine schools, pre-schools and crèches in March this year.

Matric pupils missed their mid-year exams and a classroom used as a library at Mmamathi Primary School was set alight. 

A high-level provincial government delegation that comprised three MECs visited the area last month. However, their efforts were rebuffed by residents who vowed to continue with the shutdown.

The residents first demanded the release of four leaders who were arrested for incitement.

They will return to court on July 26. 

Read more on:    polokwane  |  protests  |  education
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