Rustenburg - Parents of learners from Tirelong Secondary School in Kroondal near Rustenburg have agreed that their children should be allowed to go back to school, without any disturbance, the North West department of education said on Wednesday.
Spokesperson Elias Malindi said the department met with parents on Tuesday, in an effort to protect the learners’ rights to education.
“The learners of Tirelong Secondary School were allegedly abducted from school by unknown people. About 54 learners from Naauwpoort Mega Farm School were allegedly forcefully removed and 162 learners were taken away from Boons Mega Farm School,” he said.
“The department invited the Tirelong Secondary School parents to an urgent meeting. The primary purpose of the meeting was for parents to sign the commitment letters to allow learners to stay at the boarding schools.”
He said parents expressed anger about the people who removed children from the boarding school.
North West Education MEC Mmaphefo Matsemela assured parents that learners are safe at the boarding schools.
“I want to assure the parents of Tirelong Secondary School that as a department of education we will take care of the learners. In our boarding schools learners are getting the best care.
“Going forward we will ensure that those people behind the denial of learners their right to education are brought to book. We have taken these learners to high performing schools. Naauwpoort Mega Farm School obtained 100% and Moedwil Mega Farm School obtained 85.2% in their matric examinations. I am confident that these learners will do exceptionally well in their final examinations,” she said.
The department was working on a plan to strengthen the safety and security of the affected boarding schools.
Learners from Tirelong Secondary School in Kroondal were placed at Naauwpoort, Boons and Moedwil after their school was vandalised during the holidays.
Window frames, door frames, electricity cables, taps, kitchen utensils and the school roof were removed, making it impossible to welcome learners and have a productive first day of the academic year on January 12.
The decision to move children from Kroondal to other schools was met with resistance from some parents and children.
They wanted the department to provide mobile classrooms instead of placing children at other schools.
In the first incident at Naauwpoort, a group of people allegedly arrived in four minibus taxis, a truck and two cars and forcefully removed 54 learners.
The group allegedly overpowered the security guards at the gate, broke the gate lock and pushed the gate to the ground.
In Boons, the group reportedly arrived in two minibus taxis, a truck and a bakkie. They refused to produce their identities to indicate whether they were genuine parents of learners or not.
A commotion ensued when they could not produce proof of identity and they broke the small gate of the school.
The security succeeded in denying them access to the school, but the group allegedly whistled to signal to the learners who were inside the hostels.
The boys allegedly broke the hostel doors, windows and burglars to force their way out. They moved in numbers, forcing and threatening others to leave the school premises, and 162 learners got out of their hostel and were transported back to Kroondal.