Vuwani pupils ‘distressed’ as classes fail to resume after protests

Most schools in the area have seen just a handful of pupils show up after a two week shut down.

Pupils told to return home at one of the torched schools in Vuwani as learning will not commence today. Kgothatso Mokgale/EWN.

VUWANI - Some pupils in Vuwani and its surrounding areas have been left disappointed after being told to return home as classes were not able to resume today.

Most schools in the area have seen just a handful of pupils show up after a two-week shutdown.

The area saw a dismal turnout this morning, with some schools not having opened their gates.

Protests against the incorporation of the community into a new council have seen over 20 schools being completely destroyed or vandalised.

WATCH: Vuwani protests: Intimidation, fear mar resumption of classes

Some pupils, who were excited to resume with their schooling today, have been left frustrated after arriving to empty classrooms.

This Grade 9 pupils says she's been left distressed, adding that she has a lot of catching up to do.

"I'm feeling bad because I was so happy that we are going back to school. But it seems like this situation is going to continue."

She says locals are still scared of being victimised.

"We are the only ones who came from our area, others didn't come back to school."

Community members and traditional leaders say they have resolved to appeal a decision to have their municipality incorporated into a new one.

INTIMIDATION

At the same time, the Limpopo government says it's working with law enforcement agencies to deal with issues of intimidation and says it's doing everything in its power to ensure schooling gets underway urgently in Vuwani and surrounding areas.

Limpopo's Education MEC Ishmael Kgetjepe says some of their officials and community members were intimidated ahead of today's reopening of schools.

"We have been receiving reports of intimidation of managers in an attempt to intimidate learners so that they don't attend school."

Kgetjepe, however, says they did expect to encounter some challenges.

"We didn't expect the first day to be a 100 percent [turnout] in an environment where you are resuming education after disruptions of this magnitude."

The education department says it expects mobile classrooms to start arriving in the province from today.