The residents are once more demanding the government put tarred roads for them.
The education department in the Mpumalanga province is calling on residents protesting for service delivery in the Bushbuckridge area to not tamper with the education of kids.
“The community still refuses to allow the pupils to go to school,” spokesman Gerald Sambo said on Wednesday.
“The department is going to engage with the relevant stakeholders in facilitating a meeting with the community to discuss the issue and to plead with them to allow the pupils to return to school while their issues are being attended to,” he said.
The community of Marite wants the government to construct a road that will link Bushbuckridge and Mbombela.
SEE ALSO: Chaos as residents demand roads in Bushbuckridge march
They handed over a memorandum to the Bushbuckridge municipality on Monday this week.
Sambo said the pupils of the area are behind with schooling since the violent demand for roads began last year.
“These pupils need to cover the whole syllabus before they can sit for their final examination,” Sambo said.
He added it was within the community’s right to “peacefully demonstrate their concerns” but the pupils have a right to education too.
The Bushbuckridge municipality said community leaders have been given “assurances” an amount of R53 million has been set aside for a contractor to begin the job.
“We have already started with the project and a contractor has been appointed to start working on the road,” spokesman Aubrey Mnisis told the Citizen.
(edited by ZK)
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He visited the area following the torching down of schools in protest for tarred roads
An angry Mpumalanga Premier has lashed out at the parents of two Marite schools in Bushbuckridge for stopping their children from attending school for the past two months,demanding tarred roads in their area.
Premier David Mabuza held separate meetings with the parents of the two schools on Tuesday this week (28 Mar) and instructed that all the learners as well as the teachers should return to school as from Wednesday(29 Mar).
The Premier assured them they would be safe as the police would be deployed throughout Bushbuckridge to ensure that no one was stopped from going to school.
He urged the parents to be responsible and allow children to go to school, saying the police would deal with those who will intimidate the learners and teachers.
SEE ALSO: Mhaule condemns torching of Marite schools
Mabuza said some few suspects had been arrested after they were found in possession of the computers stolen from the schools.
“We are going to re-open all the schools tomorrow (Wed),” he said.
“We will not run away from our schools because of the criminals, this country will never be for criminals.
“Let us allow our children to go to schools, it is their right to do so, parents should not interrupt our children from getting their education,” said Mabuza.
TORCHED: Lamulelani High school was burned on Mon in protest demanding roads. PICTURE BY SAPS
The parents publicly told the Premier that they purposely blocked the learners from going to school because they wanted a tarred road.
RELATED: Residents demand road in Bushbuckridge march
They said they did not know who torched the schools but suspected the criminals in the area.
The Premier explained that the provincial government would prioritise the revamping of the schools than the tarred road, which they were demanded, would only be built next year, as it was not budgeted for.
He added that the revamping would continue while learning and teaching was taking place, as too much time had already been lost due to protests.
Mabuza inspects what remains of the charred school in Marite. PICTURE BY Zibonele Mncwango
“We have too many needs, yet our resources are limited, therefore we must utilise them sparingly,” he said.
“It is unheard of that parents would deny their children a good future, by stopping them from accessing education because they are demanding the tarred roads.
“These children are the future of our country, we must do anything possible to help them get educated.
“That is why as a government we are even paying for their education. I have heard your complaints, the tarred road will only be built next year, therefore do not stop our children from going to school,” he said.
*Mncwango is the communication manager in Mabuza’s office.