Annette Lovemore MP
DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education
The future of our children cannot be callously leveraged in efforts to unseat the local mayor.
Learners and their families continue to be harassed, threatened and intimidated in the Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality in the Northern Cape, where more than 16 000 learners are reportedly being prevented from attending school and scores of schools have been forced to close their doors.
This situation has been on-going for three months and continues to escalate. Yesterday, it was reported that there was an attempt to bomb the house of a grade 12 learner – apparently to force the Department of Basic Education to cancel study camps, aimed at supporting learners who have lost teaching time.
It is illegal to burn schools, throw petrol bombs and keep learners out of school. How can government have allowed this situation to go on for over three months?
Where is our political leadership and where are the police?
My colleague, DA Shadow Minister of Police Dianne Kohler Barnard, will write to Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to call on him to bring police reinforcements from other provinces and to utilise crime intelligence to put an end to this lawlessness.
I have made numerous attempts to contact the Olifantshoek police station to follow up on the criminal complaint I laid on 30 August 2012 to have those involved arrested. The police station does not answer its phone.
I will continue calling on the police to do their duty and protect the learners and their community.
I have also raised questions for written reply with the Minister of Basic Education, asking what measures she is taking to protect the constitutional right to a basic education.
We cannot tolerate our learners being used as political pawns. Government must act decisively and send a strong message that there will be consequences for keeping our children out of school.