PUPILS in Marite outside Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga, were returning to classes in dribs and drabs after some two months of a shutdown which also saw four schools burnt down.
Community leaders spearheading the protest in demand of a tarred road ordered parents not to allow their children to go to school. During the protest, a number of vehicles and trucks were also torched.
Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza visited the area to urge parents to allow their children to go to school. During the visit, some residents publicly admitted that they purposely blocked the learners from going to school because they wanted a tarred road.
However, Mabuza said parents must allow their children to go to school as safety measures were now in place.
“It is safe for them to go back to school as the police were deployed throughout Bushbuckridge to ensure that no one is stopped from going to school. Police will deal with those who will intimidate the learners and the teachers,” Mabuza said.
Some few suspects have been arrested after they were found in possession of computers stolen from the burnt schools.
Mabuza said the provincial government would prioritize the revamping of the schools than the tarred road. He said the road would be constructed next year as it was not budgeted for.
“It is unheard of that parents would deny their children a good future, by stopping them from accessing education because they are demanding the tarred roads,” said Mabuza.
The Mpumalanga department of education said Kwanang Primary School, Rhinzani Secondary School, Lamulelani Secondary School and Bakutshwe Secondary School were torched.
Meanwhile, almost 30 000 pupils in 76 schools are still being blocked from attending school as the shut down over municipal demarcation continues in Vuwani, Limpopo.