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11 KZN schools to remain closed amid community tensions and death threats against principals

KZN Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu said 11 schools in the UMgungundlovu District will remain closed on Wednesday due to ongoing tensions in the community over land, as well as death threats levelled against principals.

KZN Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu said 11 schools in the UMgungundlovu District will remain closed on Wednesday due to ongoing tensions in the community over land, as well as death threats levelled against principals.

Published Jan 18, 2022

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Durban - While schools across the province are expected to welcome learners on Wednesday, at least 11 schools in KwaZulu-Natal will remain closed due to ongoing threats.

The Department of Basic Education in KZN confirmed that teaching is expected to resume in the UMgungundlovu District on Thursday.

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MEC Kwazi Mshengu visited uMkhambathini to assess the education system's readiness ahead of schools reopening.

This visit follows after certain members of the community threatened to prevent educators and learners from gaining access to the schools when the schools reopen.

The modus operandi in all 11 schools is the gates being locked with heavy chains and padlocks, and whenever principals and educators tried to break the chains to gain access, they received random anonymous phone calls threatening their lives. This has already been 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. The dispute has nothing to do with education, however it appears some community members have chosen to use schools as a soft target and a bargaining tool.

“Upon considering safety of all, we have decided to delay reopening of 11 affected schools that fall under uMkhambathi Circuit, UMgungundlovu District by only one day,” Mshengu said.

He said they appreciate that communities are free to engage in protest action but cannot intimidate and prevent learners from going to school.

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“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,” he said.

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