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GDE closes Tshwane office after parents ‘threaten staff’ over placement

The department says it’s virtually impossible to process late applications in time for Wednesday’s reopening of schools.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi addresses the media on the state of readiness of the reopening of schools. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) says it’s closed a regional office in Tshwane south after parents demanded they be allowed to register their children for placement in schools.

Scores of parents are queuing outside regional education offices in a last-minute bid to secure a spot for their children.

The department says it’s virtually impossible to process late applications in time for Wednesday’s reopening of schools.

With parents and guardians rushing to complete last-minute registrations for the 2019 academic year, the Gauteng Education Department says its already dealing with 24,000 late registrations.

Parents and guardians threatened staff at the Tshwane south regional office demanding that their children be placed in classrooms ahead of the school bell on Wednesday.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says the department had no choice but to close the Tshwane south regional office: “What parents were doing was nothing short of hooliganism. They (the parents) insisted that their children be admitted by force and threatening our staff members. We were left with no choice but to request help from law enforcement agencies.”

Lesufi says pupils will be placed over the next few days and are not likely to miss out on too much work.

WATCH: If you register today, your child will be placed last - Lesufi

SCHOOL PLACEMENT APPEAL

The Gauteng Department of Education has warned guardians that it can’t guarantee to place their children at schools if they appealed their school placement.

As schools reopen on 9 January, the department says many guardians want their children to go to different schools when they’ve already been placed in a school.

The Gauteng Education Department says the majority of the 16,000 guardians who were placed on the reserve list filled out appeal forms.

Guardians who were unreachable after they registered were placed on the reserve list.

Scores of people were rushing for late registrations at regional education department offices.

Lesufi said some schools were full within 30 minutes when registration opened in 2018.

“I want to caution parents, if you appeal that you don’t want this school we’ll remove your child and place another person. Your child might be left without a school because we’ve demonstrated that we’ve placed your child. We can’t hold that place when parents are still looking for spaces in schools for their children.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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