Motshekga 'continuing to tackle' Kuruman impasse

The minister met with the Local Road Forum yesterday who is remaining unmoved on the issue.

FILE: Basic education minister Angie Motshekga and Kgalema Motlanthe at the Ponelopele Oracle Secondary school on 15 January, 2014. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says her department is continuing to find ways of breaking the impasse in Kuruman to ensure learners return to school.

The doors to 54 schools in Kuruman have been shut for more than two months affecting about 17,000 pupils.

Close to 500 Kuruman grade 12's have not been to school since 5 June.

A group known as the Local Road Forum is behind the move and is calling for roads in the area to be tarred before any schooling resumes.

The minister met with the Local Road Forum yesterday who is remaining unmoved on the issue.

Motshekga said parents are growing tired of their children's education being held to ransom, adding that one parent pleaded with her to save the community from their own 'Boko Haram'.

"One parent came running after me to say please save us from our own local Boko Haram. We have a local Boko Haram and we are in trouble, can government come and help us?"

She said Northern Cape Premier Sylvia Lucas has opened a case with the police but says authorities have incurred difficulties in their attempt to arrest the ring leaders of the group.

Motshekga said it's a very sad situation.

"You could see their [the children's] eyes watering."

The minister also said there is a plan to tar the road, but there are certain processes to be followed before that can happen.

At the same time, Kuruman matrics have been advised to deregister and repeat their final year.

Education expert Christo Van der Rheede said, "Matriculants haven't been to school for a certain number of days will be deregistered. They will be barred from writing exams."

Motshekga, who also visited the Eastern Cape, said the biggest problem faced by the province is a financial one.

Eyewitness News visited the province earlier this month after President Jacob Zuma promised in his State of the Nation Address in June to provide all schools in the Eastern Cape with furniture by the middle of this month.

But some Eastern Cape schools are still without furniture.

She said the province also doesn't have enough money to hire enough teachers.

"The last time I spoke to the MEC, he told me that the National Treasury had given them an extra R100 million."

She said there are processes underway in the province to address the barriers to education.