KwaZulu-Natal schools will be instructed to continue locking out late-comers, education MEC Senzo Mchunu said on Thursday.

“Principals will get into trouble with the department if they fail to follow such an instruction of locking the gates once classes have started,” Mchunu told the education portfolio committee in the provincial legislature.

He said the department was willing to engage in discussions but would not compromise on its stance on late-coming.

Tardy pupils would not be allowed to enter schools, even at break time, and would be instructed to go home.

Late-coming and pupils loitering outside school premises were part of the rot that had been allowed to accumulate over the years, Mchunu said.

Loiterers exposed themselves to dangers, including rape and stabbing, and was one of the root causes of poor year-end results.

“Let us take this as a fight to clean up our streets and we appeal to all community members and structures to help in doing this,” he said.

Some committee members expressed concern that the move could put the department at loggerheads with children’s rights activists.

This was because locking pupils out of school could be viewed as an infringement on children's constitutional rights.

Mchunu downplayed this prospect, saying anyone with an interest in their child’s education would support the clampdown. – Sapa