Pupils, teachers return to schools damaged by vandals, weather

Gauteng Education, Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation MEC Matome Chiloane. Pic: X (Twitter)

Gauteng Education, Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation MEC Matome Chiloane. Pic: X (Twitter)

Published Jul 9, 2024


As hundreds of learners, teachers and support staff returned for the third term on Tuesday, some discovered that their schools had been vandalised by thieves or damaged by bad weather.

At Mmanjaakgora Primary School, in the North West, the roof over some of the classrooms at had been stolen. Learners had to be moved to other rooms.

Residents said this was not the first time this had happened.

Learning at some Eastern Cape schools was disrupted after violent winds damaged infrastructure.

“Welcome back to all our educators, staff and learners across the country. It’s an important term. It sets the tone for the final term of exams. Let’s kick off the third term on a strong note, shall we?” Basic Education Minister Siviwe Gwarube said on Tuesday.

Gauteng Education, Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation MEC Matome Chiloane announced that the 2025 online admissions application period for parents and guardians with children going to Grade 1 and/or Grade 8 at provincial public schools opened at 8am on Thursday.

Applications close on August 12.

“All parents must understand that they have to apply online for Grade 1 and Grade 8. I want you to understand that these applications one has to start afresh when applying. This application is only for Grade 1 and Grade 8, not others,” said Chiloane.

He urged parents to ensure they submitted proof of address when applying.

In the past, there had been complications that left parents furious when their children were not placed in the schools they desired.

The Democratic Union Party (DUP) wished all learners, teachers and support staff a productive and successful term 3. The union is calling for learning and teaching to proceed unhindered in preparation for the next term when end-of-year examinations would be written.

The DUP said parents and communities must stand with teachers and learners; Schools must be a safe place for all.

The party noted that some learners and teachers returned to dilapidated structures that the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and the Department of Public Works had failed to maintain. Some schools were using containers as classrooms. Most of the schools had no proper windows, doors and roofing.

“In other provinces, learners cross crocodile-infested rivers to get to school,” said Thapelo Makgale, DUP secretary-general.

He said there were still schools without proper sanitation, with pupils forced to use pit latrines.

Teachers and learners were exposed to extreme weather conditions which affected teaching and learning.

Makgale said the DUP called for the DBE to keep schools open in June and close them in July when temperatures drop.

“We reiterate our call for the merger of the Independent Education Board (IEB) and the DBE curriculum. Our learners must be taught one universal curriculum,” he added.

The Star

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