Irate Northern Areas parents want 'action now' on education demands

MARCH 15, 2016

Parents of the Port Elizabeth Northern Areas Education Forum made a call for immediate action from Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on Monday.

Motshekga visited the area in an effort to calm what has been an ongoing debacle for many years. Parents have demanded basic educational services saying that the department has failed the community and pupils. 

In the latest protest, police and parents clashed after parents took to the streets demanding educational services last Wednesday. Among the demands from parents are more teachers and improved infrastructure.

Motshekga met with parents and stakeholders and said she would return after Easter to again address the community. However, forum spokesperson Nathan Boneparte said this was unfair.

Boneparte said the meeting was not fruitful. He said parents felt there had been "far too many discussions".

"Basically what the minister has told us is that she will look at our matter once she has had a nice holiday. This issue has been carrying on for years now. Our plight is very simple. Just give the child the basic education that he or she needs."

Boneparte who himself was arrested by police last Wednesday questioned why people needed to protest.

"Why must we people go out and burn and protest. Why must that be the only understanding that [the government has]?

"What the department is doing is playing a provocative game with the people. The people are not going to listen. The department are the service providers. We just want basic education. That is all."

Boneparte said parents were willing to do anything for the well-being of children.

"What is my fight? Not for the next comrade. It is for the kids. The way the country is going I am losing hope for our kids. I can get arrested every day.

"Over and over again. I am practicing my democratic right. I am fighting for our children. We want action now."

However, department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said Motshekga had made progress after hearing out parents and stakeholders during meetings.

"She has promised them that there is going to be another visit after Easter. The minister hopes to go through item-by-item and resolve all issues for members of the public."

Mhlanga said a number of the grievances outlined by parents had financial implications and would require Motshekga to understand how to address these.

"Issues are known to the minister but she required first hand clarity. The people appreciated the fact that she came through and listened to them."

Mhlanga said the issue that stood out the most was the supply of teachers.

"School infrastructure was also something that the minister hopes to tackle."

---News24wire

Source: http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/irate-pe-parents-want-action-now-on-education-demands-20160315