The Western Cape Education Department said over 450,000 school pupils did not attend school on Monday due to the ongoing taxi violence wreaking havoc across the province.
The number has doubled from Friday’s 287,420 to 456,020, Western Cape Education MEC David Maynier said.
“The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) minibus taxi strike prevented 456,020 pupils and 17,449 staff members from getting to school today (Monday), with the Cape Town metro education districts being the worst affected.
“This is a significant increase from the 287,000 learners and 9,500 staff members who were absent on Friday and is a devastating loss of teaching and learning time that our children simply cannot afford,” Maynier said.
He said 27 schools had to close on Monday, and a number of other schools allowed pupils to leave early if needed.
“We are committed to keeping schools open as far as possible and where it is safe to do so, not just as places of learning, but as places of safety and nutritional support for children. Decisions to close selected schools will be taken on a case-by-case basis, and the school in question will inform parents.
“Unfortunately, rumours that schools were being targeted and burned spread wildly this morning, resulting in panic and confusion.
“No school has reported such an incident,” Maynier said.
He further appealed to the public to not share fake news.
“We appeal to the public not to share fake news. Adding to the uncertainty is irresponsible and puts our pupils at risk.
“We also urge our school communities to report any harassment or intimidation of pupils being transported to school so that we can take the appropriate legal action. We will not tolerate anyone preventing our children from accessing their constitutional right to education,” Maynier added.