Mpumalanga community disrupts schools

Mandla Khoza Freelance journalist
Parents and community members picketing outside Lungisani Secondary School at Game, Hazyview, in Mpumalanga, yesterday. The community is complaining about lack of PPEs. / MANDLA KHOZA
Parents and community members picketing outside Lungisani Secondary School at Game, Hazyview, in Mpumalanga, yesterday. The community is complaining about lack of PPEs. / MANDLA KHOZA

Parents shut down three Mpumalanga schools due to alleged shortages of personal protective equipment and water.

Three schools at Game, Hazyview, were hit by protests from parents and other community members who started picketing at the gates yesterday morning.

Schooling was interrupted at the Manzini Combined School, Sizanani Combined School and Lungisani Secondary when security guards were ordered not to open the gates and allow returning pupils into the premises.

"We can't allow our children to go to those schools, before Covid-19 they lacked water and now nothing has changed.

"Teachers do have enough PPEs, which means if the teachers' lives are in danger so are our children," community member Cosas Maseko said.

Affected pupils told Sowetan that they fear contacting Covid-19 at school as some of their schoolmates were without face masks or some would take it off in class.

"We don't mind studying, but the addition of the other grades made it impossible to adhere to the good number in the school. And during break time learners from the school come and do the grades that are not opened, they also come to eat with us, some of them making the number very big," one of the pupils said.

Mpumalanga education spokesperson Jasper Zwane said they were shocked by the protests.

"We can confirm that all our schools including these ones have received adequate PPEs.

"We are also collaborating very well with the municipalities, department of water and sanitation including Rand Water, to ensure the provisioning of water supply," Zwane said.

He added: "It's surprising that parents claim there's shortage of PPEs whereas the department has procured PPEs for all the children including those that didn't come back to school, so there's no way we can have a shortage [in those schools].

"We request those who are behind this to refrain from disrupting schools."

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