AT least 2 500 Limpopo matric pupils were disappointed (today) on Monday when they discovered that they would be unable to join the rest of the country’s matrics who were sitting for their mid-year examinations as schooling remained on hold in volatile Vuwani and surrounding villages, a month after violent protests first broke out over a municipal demarcation dispute.
One of the Grade 12 pupils, Cedrick Rambau from Vhudzani Secondary School in Mashau Village, said his school was torched because the learners had allegedly didnot stand in solidarity with the angry protesters.
Situated on the new border between the new Malamulele Municipality and the Makhado Municipality, the burning down of Vhudzani sent shockwaves to neighbouring schools who feared that association with them would see them in the same situation.
Other schools in the area have been able to continue with school while Vhudzani pupils such as Rambau play the waiting game.
Rambau said he was beginning to lose hope: “We had [taken]refuge on Friday in another school, but [now], everything [has]changed [and]we found ourselves on the streets again.”
“We are missing [out]on precious time, we have become spectators while other pupils are writing their examinations,” said Rambau.
While Rambau and his classmates waited, there were no teachers were in sight as the province’s education department said that it was still unsafe for them to come back.
“Vuwani is still tense and schooling is not taking place,” said departmental spokesperson Naledzani Rasila, “Our hands are tied [and]there is nothing we can do at this stage.”
Rasila said the department had attempted to provide all of the necessary resources to ensure that schooling resumes but they had done all that they could and now depended on President Jacob Zuma’s deployed inter-ministerial team to resolve matters.
The committee was deployed in early May but along with schools, shops remain closed as talks between government and the community to end the dispute failed to stop destructive protesting.
According to residents, they have not been persuaded by government and the recent meetings.
Local civic organisation leader Nsovo Sambo said government was misleading people about the reality in Vuwani and any promise that schooling would resume remained a “pipe dream”.
“There is no schooling,” said Sambo, “People remain furious that they are taken for granted and used by government without considering their views.”
Sambo said people were being used by government who, without consultation or listening to residents, decided to categorise them under the Malamulele municipality. The demarcation is what sparked violent protests in Vuwani a month ago.
More than 20 schools have been torched, classes have been suspended, and business activities put on hold. – ANA