Thousands unable to attend school because of violent protests

2012-08-27 11:15
A total of 16 000 pupils have been unable to attend schools in the Northern Cape since June because of violent protests.

Protests over the lack of tarred roads in the Johan Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality, in which Kuruman is situated, have seen residents forcing teachers to close over 35 schools to pupils from Grade R to Grade 12 since June 6.

Provincial education spokesperson, Sydney Stander, told the Times newspaper the department was aware of the situation for three months.

“All the issues raised have been non-education issues. The protesters chose schools because they are soft targets, intimidating teachers and pupils.”

Stander said schools in Glenred, Dithakong, Bothithong, Loopeng and Laxey had been closed.

He said intervention was difficult because of the high level of intimidation with entrances to villages being blocked.

“The department had managed to relocate all matric learners. For a month now they have been receiving tuition at Deo Gloria in Barkly West.”

He said these pupils were being assisted by, among others, subject teachers and learning area managers.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga was involved behind the scenes but had not yet visited the area, spokesperson Panyaza Lesufi said.

He said Motshekga would visit the area soon.

In January Motshekga singled out John Taolo Gaetsewe as one of the worst performing districts in the Northern Cape.

The district is one of the poorest in the province with more than 180 no-fee schools.