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'Don't use children as pawns'

By Tebogo Monama | 2012-09-14 09:06:57.0

FOR the first time in more than two weeks, learning at schools in Tafelkop, Limpopo, went back to normal.

Schooling had been disrupted in the area after service delivery protests on August 27. Residents burnt tyres, barricaded roads and stopped teachers and pupils from attending school as they demanded water from the Sekhukhune district municipality.

The community has not had a reliable water supply for the past 20 years.

Grade 10 pupil Ben Mawela was shot during a protest on September 3, allegedly by a gunman in a moving taxi.

Pupils and teachers from 24 schools were unable to attend classes. As a result six high schools were unable to write the agriculture paper 1 matric preliminary examination.

Limpopo education spokesman Pat Kgomo said: "There are six schools that have not been able to write the paper. The situation is back to normal and we are still going to conclude whether they will rewrite or not."

Yesterday, pupils wrote the life sciences exam paper.

Kgomo could not say how many pupils and teachers had been affected. A school teacher in the area, who refused to be named, said: "It was unfair of the community to use their children as pawns in the protests."

Koketso Madihlaba, a Grade 12 pupil at Abraham Serote Secondary School, said: "Last week was scary. To ensure we were not attacked, some of us had to wear our home clothes to school. It was the only way we could write exams."

Similar protests have occurred in Northern Cape, stopping 600 teachers and 16000 pupils from attending schools. -