Pupils at Maseala Progressive School, a private school in Polokwane, Limpopo, watched with disbelief as 12 of their teachers from Zimbabwe were arrested on the school premises yesterday.
Lessons came to a standstill when a huge contingency, led by the Department of Home Affairs, arrested the teachers for working in South Africa without permits. The contingent included officials from the provincial department of labour as well as the department of education.
One of the teachers was, however, released after verification of her work permit at the home affairs offices in Polokwane.
The school's owner, Molatelo Gladys Mohlahlana, was also arrested and was charged for employing illegal foreigners.
According to provincial home affairs spokesman, Sam Moremi, the arrests follow routine inspections done at various institutions in the industrial area.
He said there had been suspicions of irregular activities taking place at the school.
"For instance, we would have a number of teachers working at the school coming to apply for work permits at our offices.
"We later realised they were no longer coming while we knew their permits had expired," explained Moremi.
The arrested teachers are being held in the Polokwane police holding cells.