Khayelitsha protests: what happens when your matric exams are disrupted?

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Protests broke out in Khayelitsha leading to some matriculants not being able to write their exams.
Protests broke out in Khayelitsha leading to some matriculants not being able to write their exams.
Jaco Marais / Gallo images

They have spent their whole school careers preparing for this. They've studied, they've had cross night sessions and have prayed day in and out.

They were ready to face their matric exams. 

Until some were forced to abandon their exams on Thursday, 12 November due to a service delivery protest in Khayelitsha. 

Children were turned back by protesters, Golden Arrow busses were torched and a truck was also set alight.

While some were able to get to their schools later in the day, some couldn't write. We spoke to the Western Cape Department of Education spokesperson Bronagh Hammond to find out what happens in such a situation?

“We are aware that 11 schools delayed the start of their examinations to accommodate the delays caused by the protest. These schools all successfully started the paper by 10H00. Thankfully, the majority of our commuter schools have reported that learners were able to arrive on time. However, we are aware that there are isolated cases where learners could not reach their venue.

Protests in Khayelitsha
Protests broke out in Khayelitsha leading to some matriculants not being able to write their exams.
Protests in Khayelitsha
Protests broke out in Khayelitsha leading to some matriculants not being able to write their exams.

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"This is devastating. The WCED is engaging with DBE on the possibility of a “back up” paper, should this be required, once an assessment on the impact of the disruptions on attendance has been finalized,” she tells DRUM.

“We always ask for calm within our communities so that teaching and learning time can be protected. However, this year, we cannot emphasise enough the importance of community stabilisation. These young adults have worked 12 years for this opportunity to write and complete these exams. We appeal to communities to respect this and desist from any disruption that may prevent our learners from reaching their examination venues.”

SAPS spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana said no arrests were made in the protest.

The City of Cape Town condemned the protests. 

“The City has been communicating for months that it is unable to provide immediate services, if at all, to all newly formed settlements at the expense of the existing services and programmes planned in accordance with its Budget. The City does not have unlimited resources. In its assessments of the areas, the City’s stance is that the land assessment/physical conditions determines what, if any services, can be provided in terms of emergency relief," said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements, Councillor Malusi Booi.

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