Protests hit matric exams
Pupils delayed by farmers’ strike allowed extra time
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.