Wed Oct 26 09:38:24 SAST 2016

17-year-old 'source of tension' in Khutsong

By unknown | Oct 08, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Kingdom Mabuza

Kingdom Mabuza

The North West Education Department has banished a 17-year-old Khutsong pupil from the Taung camp for allegedly triggering riots that have disrupted examination preparations.

Villagers attacked Khutsong pupils last week in retaliation to an earlier attack against a member of their community.

They pounced on the Khutsong pupils at Vuselela camp armed with stones and pangas. Two pupils were injured.

Education department spokesman Charles Raseala yesterday said efforts had been made last week to heal the rift between the pupils and the community.

But he denied that exam preparations were adversely disrupted because of the clash between pupils and the community.

He said that after interviewing several affected people, including pupils and the community, a decision was taken to remove the pupil from the camp.

"We could not allow the pupil to continue with the programme since he was the source of the tension between villagers and pupils. It would have been unfair to risk the lives of others because of one pupil," he said.

He said two other pupils had also been sent back home after sustaining injuries during the battle with villagers.

The 437 grade 12 pupils had been taken to a camp for a three-month programme because there had never been an effective learning system in Khutsong.

Residents of the township have been fighting since government took the decision to relocate them from Gauteng into North West last year.

"The problem in Khutsong is that government went against the wishes of residents by taking them from Gauteng to North West," said Isaac Mothi.

"Taking children to Taung has not solved our grievances. It means that every year children have to be bussed to Taung because we will not stop fighting," he said.

When the plan to accommodate pupils in Taung was mooted, some residents disapproved and accused government of dividing residents.

Expelled teacher Jomo Mogale argued against the plan and said there was an effective education system in the township.

"This plan is meant to divide residents. We were not consulted. This whole thing is an attempt to shift the focus from the legal battle we are fighting with the government," said Mogale.

A Young Communist League spokesman, Castro Ngobese, believed that pupils should rather be taken back to Khutsong as the situation had normalised in the township.

Raseala said the department had asked the police to monitor the situation. "We cannot rule out the possibility that there could be elements who are planning to disrupt exams because of the situation in Khutsong. We are not expecting a miracle, but a good performance," said Raseala.


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