Khutsong teachers will go back to classrooms today

BACK TO SCHOOL: Sadtu president Willie Madisha. Pic. Mabuti Kali. 20/05/2007. © Sowetan.
BACK TO SCHOOL: Sadtu president Willie Madisha. Pic. Mabuti Kali. 20/05/2007. © Sowetan.

Sibongile Mashaba

Sibongile Mashaba

The six-week-long schools boycott in Khutsong will come to an end today after teachers agreed to return to school.

The teachers, all members of the South African Democratic Teachers Union, agreed yesterday to return to their classrooms after more than a month of youth-led violence, which has wreaked havoc in the township.

The decision came after a three-hour meeting between the Sadtu local executive leadership and the union's president Willie Madisha at Badirile High in Khutsong yesterday.

The outcome seemed to be exactly what the Sadtu ordinary membership was waiting for.

After the leadership had decided, the teachers were then called into the hall for feedback.

While Madisha was speaking to the teachers, parents were protesting outside the hall where the meeting was held.

The parents complained that Madisha was consulting with the teachers and discussing the future of their children without getting their input.

A parent, Teboho Ramokgwatedi said: "We want Madisha to come and talk to us and explain why he wants our children to go back to school."

After some deliberations, the parents were called into the meeting and spoken to by Madisha.

The media was barred from attending the gathering.

Regarding the contentious issue of incorporation of Khutsong into North West, the parents claimed the ANC had promised there would be no difference if they moved from Gauteng to North West.

But they still allege there are too many "glaring differences".

They claim North West does not have computer studies as a school subject while Gauteng has.

They also said North West would not be able to cater for their children's schooling needs because it was one of the country's poorest provinces.

When asked by the media if they agreed that their children should to return to school today, there were mixed reactions from parents.

Some wanted them to go back to school, but others were reluctant.

Khutsong residents are opposed to the incorporation of the township into North West.

There has been violence since this was announced, and last week several houses and a school tuckshop were torched.

Rampaging youth have repeatedly clashed with police trying to curb looting from houses and shops.