Bloemfontein - Northern Cape premier Sylvia Lucas on Wednesday tried to convince Kuruman residents to allow children to return to school, her spokeswoman said.

“The premier met with traditional leaders in the region today,” Lucas's spokeswoman Bronwyn Thomas-Abrahams said.

“The schools have nothing to do with service delivery and the community is adversely affecting the futures of the children,” she said.

Fifty-five schools in the John Taolo Gaetsewe region, which is the bigger Kuruman area, had been closed due to intimidation and threats.

A group of locals calling themselves the Road Forum forced schools to close about three weeks ago, in protest at the state of roads in the area.

Of the 55 schools affected, eight are high schools.

Thomas-Abrahams said after discussions with school principals in the region over the weekend, it was decided to open the high schools on Monday.

“It was to enable the provincial education department to start with its intervention programmes at the schools.”

On Monday, five of the eight high schools opened their doors for pupils, but they closed soon afterwards due to threats to the safety of teachers and children.

Northern Cape education spokesman Sidney Stander said Lucas was personally looking into solving the situation.

There were similar disruptions at schools in Kuruman, Olifantshoek and Kathu for several months in 2012, also due to protests at the poor state of roads and lack of municipal services.

Sapa