Sonja Boshoff, MP
Deputy Provincial Chairperson: DA Mpumalanga:
The DA strongly condemns the disruption of seven schools by protesting residents of the Majembeni community near Bushbuckridge.
Residents closed the schools in order to express their dissatisfaction over the lack of water and service delivery in the area. Community members claim that they have not had water since October last year and are forced to share dirty water with animals.
While we fully respect the constitutional rights of citizens to express their dissatisfaction through peaceful protest, we do not support acts that deny learners their education.
Learners did not attend school all of last week despite the Bushbuckridge municipality promising to restore water by last Thursday. Some learners have not been able to register for their Grade 12 supplementary exams because of the protest and the community vows to keep schools closed until the village is granted access to potable water.
The DA is however not surprised at the allegations of poor service delivery levelled at the Bushbuckridge municipality, as political infighting and financial mismanagement have seen service delivery taking a backseat.
The municipality was recently placed under administration for 18 months in terms of section 139(b) of the Constitution but despite the administration being lifted, service delivery protests, particularly over the delivery of water, have continued.
Water delivery in Bushbuckridge is fast reaching crisis point and the DA calls on Bushbuckridge Executive Mayor, Cllr Renias Khumalo to prioritise water delivery as being denied access to clean, potable water is a violation of basic human rights.
We also call on Education MEC Reginah Mhaule to ensure that Majembeni learners return to school and that measures are put in place for them to catch up on missed work. Learners who have not registered for their supplementary exams due to the protest must also be allowed to register.
Education is vital for the success of young people. A municipality’s failure to deliver, must not compromise our children’s future.