Cosas vows to con­tinue school protests

Ed­u­ca­tion MEC granted high court in­ter­dict or­der­ing raids on schools to stop

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - ZARA NI­CHOL­SON

AF­TER raid­ing sev­eral schools and tear­ing up the exam pa­pers of hun­dreds of ma­tric candidates, the Congress of South African Stu­dents has vowed to con­tinue fight­ing against the clo­sure of the only fin­ish­ing school in the West­ern Cape.

Af­ter the sec­ond ma­tric exam in two days was dis­rupted by protest­ing Cosas mem­bers yes­ter­day at schools in Khayelit­sha and Philippi, MEC for Ed­u­ca­tion Don­ald Grant was granted an in­ter­dict in the Cape High Court bar­ring Cosas from dis­rupt­ing ex­ams.

Yes­ter­day Cosas mem­bers stormed two schools in Philippi and tore up pupils’ physics exam scripts. But the schools had re­place­ment pa­pers and the ex­ams started again with the pupils fin­ish­ing the new pa­pers.

How­ever, it is not known when the pupils from Langa High, who had their English First Ad­di­tional ex­ams dis­rupted on Thurs­day, will sit the pa­per again. The Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment said candidates would be no­ti­fied.

Grant met Premier He­len Zille yes­ter­day and con­sulted Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Angie Mot­shekga be­fore ap­ply­ing for the in­ter­dict to bar protest­ing Cosas mem­bers.

Af­ter raid­ing Langa High on Thurs­day, the mob at­tempted to force their way into three other schools in Langa on the same day.

Yes­ter­day the crowd stormed Them­be­lihle High School in Khayelit­sha, but the matrics had not yet started writ­ing their phys­i­cal sci­ence exam.

Frus­trated, they re­grouped at Khayelit­sha sta­tion and then headed to Philippi’s Sinethemba High where they en­tered class­rooms and dis­rupted the exam.

They then charged off to Intseben­ziswano High School, climbed over the fence, dis­rupted the exam and tore up pa­pers.

There were un­con­firmed re­ports that two pupils had been in­jured in yes­ter­day’s fra­cas.

Cosas mem­bers are protest­ing against the pos­si­ble clo­sure of La­gunya Fin­ish­ing School. It is the only school left in the prov­ince where pupils who failed ma­tric can re­peat sub­jects at a cost of R50 a sub­ject.

Cosas pro­vin­cial chair­man Ben­jamin Zantsi said they had tried to meet Mot­shekga to plead with her not to close the school.

“The min­is­ter promised to get back to us and she has not. Cosas lead­er­ship along with pupils in the area de­cided that if she does not want to lis­ten to us then we will have to dis­rupt ex­ams so that they can come down to our level. If th­ese pupils fail they will have to go to the fin­ish­ing school where they will see that the school is ef­fec­tive and rel­e­vant,” Zantsi said.

They would con­tinue their fight since most of their mem­bers could not af­ford to com­plete their school­ing at ex­pen­sive FET colleges.

“The only way for them to get a sec­ond chance is through the fin­ish­ing school which is af­ford­able. There was an un­for­tu­nate end to our ac­tions with two pupils get­ting hurt, but we have tried to meet with the min­is­ters,” said Zantsi.

“We are go­ing to con­tinue our fight but we will have to change our tac­tics and find other non-vi­o­lent strate­gies. We will also try to as­sist po­lice to make sure who­ever is turn­ing vi­o­lent will be dealt with and face the law.”

But in a state­ment yes­ter­day, Grant said: “We sim­ply can­not tol­er­ate this kind of thug­gish be­hav­iour which prej­u­dices the rights of pupils writ­ing the most im­por­tant ex­am­i­na­tions of their lives.

“Min­is­ter Mot­shekga has backed our de­ci­sion to seek an in­ter­dict. She has also in­di­cated that she has spo­ken to the Pres­i­dency which has given its sup­port for tough action to be taken against any­one who dis­rupts any ex­am­i­na­tion cen­tre.”

Com­ment­ing on the in­ter­dict, Zantsi said: “I am not sur­prised and no one will stop Cosas un­til Cosas de­cides to stop. We are not scared of the in­ter­dict.”

Grant wrote to La­gunya Fin­ish­ing School on Septem­ber 31 stat­ing that it would be closed on De­cem­ber 31.

The Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment has pre­vi­ously said that the cur­rent model for school­ing in the coun­try does not make pro­vi­sion for the op­er­a­tion of fin­ish­ing schools. A pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion process on the clo­sure is yet to be fi­nalised.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.