Chaos over R2 fine



September 7, 2016
Chaos over R2 fine

Pupils at Joe Slovo High in Khayelitsha vandalised school in protest at lateness fines. CREDIT: Patrick Louw

Learners wreak havoc at school.

School children raised all hell yesterday when they protested at having to a R2 fine for arriving late.

The pupils set alight a classroom, broke the school gate and concrete fences, and stoned teachers’ cars.

The police and the fire department were called in to contain hundreds of rioting students at Joe Slovo High school in Khayelitsha.

School principal Majiet Parker say it all started when 17 pupils arrived almost two hours late for school and were locked out.

The group went on the rampage and broke down the school gate.

Once inside, the boys and girls allegedly threatened staff members, and began stoning cars and breaking windows.

They also smeared Parker’s vehicle with food and stoned the deputy principal’s car.

Parker, who has been principal for nearly a decade, says this is the first time his staff has feared for their lives and called in police.

He says the school is a no-fees institution but relies on a parent contribution fee set by the School Governing Body.

He says the R2 latecomers penalty was agreed on by learners and their parents.

Parker says the group yesterday refused to pay, and started protesting violently.

“We had 17 learners who arrived at 9.35am,” he explains.

“They are the regular latecomers who blame it on the train and we have called their parents previously.

“While I called the Representative Council for Learners to speak to the pupils, they began throwing stones.”

Bambanani worker, Freddy Tshali, 31, says pupils began threatening him when he refused them entry to the school.

“They said they know I walk late after school and that they will stab me because I think high of myself.”

Rugby coach Luthabo Komana says he was forced to move his car when pupils began throwing food at it.

He says the group forced their way into a woodwork classroom and science lab, breaking windows and the ceiling, and using the wood to set alight another classroom.

Grade 10 learner Babalwa Plaatjie, 17, of the Representative Council for Learners, says they want the principal out.

“We are striking because we are tired of corruption; we have to pay a fine of R2 when we are late, and R500 when you are in a fight.

“We want to know what this money is being used for because we have classrooms which are broken.

“We want our principal to go.”

Paddy Attwell, Director of Communication at the Western Cape Education Department, says: “This kind of behaviour is completely unacceptable. Our district office will investigate.”

Police spokesperson, Constable Noloyiso Rwexana says cops have opened a case of public violence.

No arrests have been made.

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