Protests hit ma­tric ex­ams

Pupils de­layed by farm­ers’ strike al­lowed ex­tra time

Sowetan - - News - By Yoliswa Sobuwa

Gaut­eng ma­tric­u­lants were the worst hit yes­ter­day as pro­test­ers block­aded roads to high­light farm mur­ders. In some cases ex­ams were de­layed for up to three hours.

Ed­u­ca­tion MEC Panyaza Le­sufi con­firmed the depart­ment granted some con­ces­sions for Grade 12 pupils who ar­rived late.

Yes­ter­day, ma­tric­u­lants around the coun­try wrote maths pa­per 2.

“All pupils who ar­rived late were al­lowed into ex­am­i­na­tion rooms at dif­fer­ent cen­tres in Tsh­wane and Sed­ibeng ar­eas,” Le­sufi said.

“It is in our best in­ter­est not to dis­ad­van­tage our pupils for the un­for­tu­nate even­tu­al­ity which is beyond their con­trol.

“It is re­gret­table that they had to write this im­por­tant pa­per un­der th­ese tor­ment­ing con­di­tions.”

The pro­test­ers, who wore black as part of #Black­Mon­day, de­manded ac­tion against farm killings.

The protests come just four days af­ter more than 30 driv­ers of me­tered taxis were ar­rested and charged for pub­lic vi­o­lence af­ter block­ing the R21 and R24 high­ways near OR Tambo In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Ekurhu­leni.

Tha­bang Khalo, 18, of Mey­er­ton High School in Mid­vaal, said yes­ter­day he started pan­ick­ing when the school­bus passed Walk­erville only 30 min­utes be­fore his exam was to start.

“The traf­fic was a bit slow be­cause there were lots of trucks block­ing the road. ”

The protest raised the ire of some peo­ple on so­cial me­dia.

EFF leader Julius Malema tweeted that “white farm­ers are block­ing the roads il­le­gally and po­lice are not shoot­ing rub­ber bul­lets, but if it was African youth yho”!!!

Po­lice Min­is­ter Fik­ile Mbalula re­sponded to his tweet say­ing: “Law­less­ness from any quar­ter is un­ac­cept­able and should be con­demned. In this in­stance you might be right, po­lice low­ered the guard.”

Pro­test­ers blocked the R59 and R82 routes lead­ing to Vereenig­ing and sur­round­ing ar­eas. Mx­oleli Mtyida, 17, also of Mey­er­ton High , who trav­els from Ridge­way, said he pan­icked when he re­alised that the roads were blocked.

He said he was 30 min­utes late for his exam.

“On the way I kept pray­ing to make it on time to write maths pa­per 2.”

At least three pro­test­ers were in­jured on the N4 in Mpumalanga when a truck ploughed into their ve­hi­cles.

Jab­ula Plant Hire de­nied its driver was re­spon­si­ble for the crash af­ter pic­tures posted on so­cial me­dia groups blamed the com­pany for the the ac­ci­dent. “...The ac­ci­dent was not due to the negligence of our driver or caused by the truck he was driv­ing‚” spokesman Jaco Pretorius said.

In most prov­inces there were peace­ful protests.

In KwaZulu-Natal, more than 300 farm­ers and work­ers joined the cam­paign.

Har­vesters‚ trac­tors and bakkies – some dis­play­ing signs say­ing “Stop farm mur­ders” or “Don’t kill the hand that feeds you” – caused a traf­fic jam along the N3 near Bergville and Est­court.

Farm­ers‚ wear­ing black, drove in con­voy along the R74 and onto the N3 to­wards Jo­han­nes­burg.

One of the pro­test­ers, Mar­ian­dra He­u­nis – a mother of four chil­dren – de­scribed how she was left wid­owed af­ter her hus­band Jo­hann was shot dead by rob­bers on their small­hold­ing out­side Pre­to­ria last year.

Clau­dine van Wyk, who lost her fa­ther‚ un­cle and aunt in a farm killing, said it had taken two years to come to terms with their deaths.

“That is why I am here to­day. I want to use my voice to speak. We are cry­ing out to the pres­i­dent: Pres­i­dent Zuma‚ what are you do­ing about this?”

Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture, Forestry and Fish­eries Sen­zeni Zok­wana said the protests were “not an at­tack on gov­ern­ment”.

“I hope beyond this march we will be call­ing its lead­ers to meet. We are say­ing to them let us not politi­cise this mat­ter.” -


Parts of the R59 high­way near Vereenig­ing were blocked yes­ter­day dur­ing a protest over farm mur­ders. Sim­i­lar demon­stra­tions were held in other parts of the coun­try.

A pupil ar­rives late for his ex­ams at Mey­er­ton High.

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