The Olifantshoek municipal library was burned down by residents in August..
We have just found ourselves wondering how on earth Jacob Zuma sleeps at night when we heard about this: all Grade One to 11 pupils in Olifantshoek, in the Northern Cape, will repeat their 2012 grades next year.
Although we can’t say whether this is the first time this has happened in our relatively youthful democracy, this was the first time any of us had ever heard anything like this.
Northern Cape provincial education spokesperson Sidney Stander rightfully said yesterday that it was impossible for the children to “reach the minimum standards required to pass after missing six months of schooling.”
This is how the story goes:
Parents and other residents stopped about 2 500 pupils from going to school as part of a service delivery protest and campaign against mayor Maria Diniza.
National government officials and community leaders visited the area during 2012 in a failed attempt to change their minds.
Stander said planning for the 2013 school year in the area was well advanced.
“There is huge support from all involved to pick up the pieces of what had happened and support the children for 2013.”
All that seems irrelevant right now though, because the residents’ grievance pertaining to the mayor, has still not been resolved. It’s probably fair to say nobody actually knows yet whether schooling will actually go ahead next year.
The Northern Cape’s DA have stepped up now, and will approach the provincial legislature to ask education MEC Grizelda Cjiekella and the police to explain plans to make sure schooling takes place in 2013.
DA spokesperson, Allan Grootboom:
These learners should have at least been afforded the opportunity by the department to write their exams. To date, only one arrest has been made on a charge of intimidation and the case has not even been brought to court yet.
According to the DA, the provincial government and the police have let the pupils down.
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