Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi

Vereeniging – Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi on Wednesday said the 55 learners turned away from the Hoërskool Overvaal in Vereeniging have been taken in at the Riverside High School, about 15 km away.

“We resolved to accommodate them in one area, while we are still dealing with the challenges of the law. After persuading each other, we agreed to locate all those children in this particular school [Riverside High],” Lesufi told journalists on the first day of school.

“We just wanted to come here and get a briefing from the district director if everything was done accordingly. We also wanted to get a sense on whether the children were integrated.”

Lesufi said he has emphasised to the provincial education officials that the 55 learners should not be treated differently from other learners.

READ MORE: Rubber bullets, stun grenades fired at #HoerskoolOvervaal

“I don’t want these children to be treated as children of Overvaal [school]. They are children of South Africans so they must be integrated within the classes. They must not have their own class there, as if we are at a zoo. They must be part of the entire system,” said Lesufi, who was flanked by provincial education officials. 

Lesufi said it would have been better for the 55 learners to be accommodated at Hoerskool Overvaal because it is the school near their homes. He said the daily travel to the Riverside High School would hurt the parents.

Earlier on Wednesday there were protests outside the Afrikaans school, which this week secured a court ruling preventing the Gauteng department of education form compelling it to take in the 55 English speaking children, citing of capacity constraints.

A parent was assaulted by protesters in the morning as he arrived at the school. Some protesters said he had provoked them.

Later, around midday police fired rubber bullets and used stun grenades to disperse the protesters, who were mostly from the Economic Freedom Fighters opposition party. They were joined by a few members of the ruling African National Congress.

At least two people were injured by rubber bullets shot at them by the police. Ten people were arrested.

African News Agency/ANA