Polokwane – Mobile classrooms and winter school camps are being considered to help thousands of pupils in Vuwani’s Vhembe district in Limpopo where protests turned violent in recent weeks, leading to more than 20 schools being damaged or burnt down.
Hundreds of pupils have been left in limbo and face an uncertain future after classrooms, desks, learning materials and other equipment was reduced to ashes during the violent protest.
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs minister Des Van Rooyen said government was considering making use of mobile classrooms and the introduction of additional lessons to offset the impact of the violent protest action.
Van Rooyen revealed the planned proposal at a media briefing in Polokwane on Tuesday after meeting with traditional leaders.
“The winter exams are supposed to start around the 8 June this year. We are looking at options like provisions of mobile classrooms, study camps for our matriculants and, of course, all this have financial implications,” said Van Rooyen.
The meeting came after 24 schools were burnt by Vuwani residents who were protesting against a government decision to incorporate their area into a new local municipality in Vhembe.
The disgruntled villagers took to the streets after they lost a high court battle to have Municipal Demarcation Board’s decision reversed.
Van Rooyen, State Security minister David Mahlobo, and Communications minister, Faith Muthambi, met with traditional leaders of affected areas.
The meeting was also attended by chief Mmbangiseni Masia who led the high court battle against the MDB.
When addressing reporters, Van Rooyen stressed government’s commitment to ensure that stability is restored at Vuwani and neighbouring villagers.
He said apart from the damaged schools, 88 more schools has been affected as no schooling was taking place amid the tense atmosphere. In total some 86 000 pupils have been affected.
Van Rooyen said of the affected pupils, 2 646 were grade 12 learners who should be sitting for crucial mid-year examination by June.
Speaking during the same briefing, Masia said restoring peace should not ignore communities’ prime demands.
“Whilst we are talking about issues of stability and peace, the main issue still has to be attended, I think there is a spirit that will not be taken for granted,” said Masia.
Contrary to certain reports, Van Rooyen dismissed talk that Vuwani and affected areas had been declared a disaster zone.
“We haven’t received any request for such to make a determination, but we are saying district and province should explore all avenue to get assistance,” added Van Rooyen.
African News Agency