Lesufi condemns Cosas’ disruption of classes

Cosas disrupted classes in Soweto and Mamelodi today and forcibly removed pupils to join their march.

FILE: School children ran from police during a Cosas march in the Johannesburg CBD on 30 July 2014. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNEBSURG - Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has condemned the disruption of schooling in Soweto and Mamelodi by members of the Congress of South African Students (Cosas).

Cosas disrupted classes in these areas this morning and forcibly removed pupils to join their march to the basic education head offices in Tshwane.

The department's Phumla Sekhonyane says this goes against an agreement between Cosas leadership and the MEC.

"The MEC is obviously disappointed by this conduct because it goes against the agreement he had with the leadership of Cosas of not to engage in any illegal activities during their march.

Cosas says it has to disrupt schooling because that's the only time that the Department of Basic Education listens to its grievances.

Cosas General Secretary Khulekani Skosana says they want government to deal with issues of teen pregnancy and teachers hitting them.

"They are supposed to be in schools but teachers are hitting them; we are here to represent 20,000 girls who are pregnant and being called monkeys in class. We must get tablets just like Chinese students."

In February, thousands of schoolchildren marched to Library Gardens in the city centre in solidarity with Malamulele pupils, the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) said.

The march was arranged by Cosas but no permission was obtained for the demonstration.

Congress President Sandra Baloyi said, "All the schools in the country must stop in solidarity with in solidarity with learners in Malamulele so that is why we organised the march."

Cosas called for urgent intervention from government to intervene in Malamulele where pupils had not seen the inside of a classroom for months.

Motorists have reported seeing a large group of pupils marching in school uniform through the streets in Pretoria CBD.

One eyewitness claims pupils are damaging property and shops.

These motorists passed through the area a short while ago.

"I don't know where they are coming from, but they are just damaging everything around us. There are over 2,000 kids."