A large crowd of parents whose children had not yet been placed in schools by yesterday gathered outside the Department of Education’s Tshwane West District offices. Jacques Naude African News Agency (ANA)
Pretoria - Pandemonium broke out at the Department of Education’s Tshwane West district offices where parents had gone to sort out school places for their children.

Hundreds of parents converged on the offices with various problems that needed to be resolved ahead of the school opening.

Some said they were turned back from schools and told their children were not allocated space there. They had to return to the district offices to seek solutions.

Esther Masanabo said she had already spent lots of money on a school uniform and stationery for her child.

Let Letsoane said he had come all the way from Mpumalanga to resolve the issue.

“I recently got a job this side and I’ve been trying to get space for my three children without any luck.

“We have been here for two days now and we haven’t been helped. I missed work and have been standing since 5am just to make sure my children get an education this year,” he said.

Some parents said they had not slept and have been queueing since 2am yesterday.

Parents were told that only those who had registered online would be helped. However, they claimed only Soshanguve residents were assisted.

After being asked to queue for hours, the parents got fed up and demanded answers from staff members.

Police officers were on site and remained on standby while they monitored the situation.

Parents who were yet to be assisted yesterday afternoon said they were stressed, especially because schools were due to reopen in less that 24 hours at the time.

A child cried and said: “My friends got accepted to schools; some were placed very far, but at least they get to go to school.

“What will happen to me? I got good results but it’s not good enough for any school,” she said.

Many parents blamed the online application system used in the province and said it had never been helpful.

Provincial Education Department spokesperson Steve Mabona said their challenge was about capacity and not the system.

He said parents were reluctant to accept offered spaces for different reasons. “Unfortunately, we can only accommodate a certain number of learners at our schools.

“As such, we call upon parents to accept placement offers by the department as these are the only spaces available at some schools.”

He added that all appeals were carefully considered and fairly adjudicated. The outcome of each appeal was based on compliance with admissions regulations and availability of space at schools.

Pretoria News