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Traditional dispute causes delay in reopening of 11 KZN schools

The KwaZulu-Natal Education has opted to delay the reopening of 11 schools in the UMgungundlovu district by one day, citing safety fears for pupils and teaching staff.

KwaZulu-Natal Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu Picture: Bongani Mbatha African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jan 18, 2022

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DURBAN – The KwaZulu-Natal Education has opted to delay the reopening of 11 schools in the UMgungundlovu district by one day, citing safety concerns for pupils and teaching staff.

The delay was announced by Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu today, following a visit in the Mkhambathini area, which was meant to assess the education system’s readiness ahead of the opening on Wednesday.

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This visit came after threats were received from some community members about moves to prevent educators and pupils from gaining access to the schools. According to the department in all 11 schools, the gates were locked with chains and padlocks.

In addition to this, when principals and educators tried to gain access, they received anonymous phone calls threatening their lives, a matter that was reported to the police.

“According to local government authorities, there is an ongoing legal dispute in the local traditional leadership that is already in court. What is frustrating is that the dispute has nothing to do with education and yet some community members have chosen to use schools as a soft target and a bargaining tool,” said the MEC.

He added that following the threats the department opted to delay the reopening by a single day, meaning that the schools in the area will now open on Thursday.

“For the safety of educators, learners and all education officials, and for the education system to proceed smoothly, we have activated our sister Department of Community Safety and Liaison to try and mitigate the situation,” Mshengu continued.

He stressed that while communities were free to engage in protest action, this should not be done at the expense of learners and cautioned against the intimidation and prevention of learners from going to school.

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