Pretoria - The Gauteng Department of Education should swallow its pride and allow schools and school governing bodies to handle applications and registrations of Grade 1 and 8 learners, parents said on Sunday.
Parents were speaking outside the provincial education's Tshwane district offices, where they had converged to demand placement for their children. Similar scenes were reported from other district offices across the province.
Some parents' vehicles were towed away for illegal parking.
Others could be heard shouting at the police and security guards who had secured the building. Police were eventually called to disperse the parents.
Most of the parents said they were going to send their children from townships to schools in Centurion, Valhalla, Wierdapark, Lyttelton and Olievenhoutbosch.
According to them, they were angered that there was nobody to help them despite SMS messages directing them to the district offices on Saturday.
Upon arrival, they were given a list of the names of schools to go to submit their documents to. However, the parents were having none of that.
Peggy Ledwaba of Mamelodi said: “What this department is doing to us is very disrespectful. Most of us here took two taxis. We first went to the offices in our areas and were directed to the district office.
“We get here and there is nobody actually helping us except giving us names of schools. This whole thing is really disrespectful. We are here because we don't want those schools; you can't make us come here just to give us a printout of the same names.
“Why must my child travel from Mamelodi to study in Centurion? We stay in the township for a reason. Where are we going to get the money for all the transport? We are frustrated.”
Another parent urged the department to return to the old system, where parents would apply directly to the schools.
Last week, the department urged parents who received an offer of placement to accept the offer immediately.
“Should parents not accept these offers of placement made to them, same will be forfeited and offered to other parents,” provincial education spokesperson Steve Mabona said.
“It must be noted that placement is a process. When parents accept offers, more offers can be released to others.”
The department further said it was working tirelessly to finalise the process of issuing offers to the remaining parents.
“We want to assure all parents that all learners will be placed accordingly. We are indebted to all parents who accepted.
“Parents who do not have access to the internet may visit the school or district office where they will be assisted to accept offers.”
Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said they had summoned all district admission co-ordinators to a central location so that they could resolve all outstanding placements.
“We have urged our officials to attend to each and every parent, and not to send them from pillar to post.”
* The Gauteng Education Department (GDE) has extended the schools admission placement period to November 30.