Motorists urged to avoid Stanford Road due to protests

JULY 27, 2015

Residents in Port Elizabeth's Northern Areas again on Monday morning brought traffic along the city's busy Stanford Road to a standstill as they took to the streets in protest over teacher shortages at schools in the area.

Commuters also found themselves stranded in the morning rush-hour after local taxi associations - in support of the protesting parents, kept their taxi's off the road.

Police, including a helicopter, are maintaining a strong presence in the area and have urged motorists to avoid sections of Stanford Road.

A local woman tweeted that protesters were stoning police and that there had been at least one injury. In response, police have used rubber bullets and water cannons to disperse the crowds.

Over the weekend, parents reportedly issued a statement saying that they would blockade all routes leading into the Northern Areas to prevent people from leaving or entering.

The protest has been ongoing after around 30 schools in the area were closed last week as parents demanded more teachers for their children, amongst other issues.

Closures condemned 

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape, while commending the Eastern Cape Department of Education for its efforts to address teacher shortages in Port Elizabeth, on Wednesday, condemned the closure of schools by parents.

The DA's Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for Education, Edmund van Vuuren, said that the school closures were "not in the interest of the education of our children".

"Out of a total of 121 posts that were approved by the department for the Port Elizabeth district, 82 were allocated to the northern areas. Whether this has been relayed to schools is another matter.  However, if the schools were indeed informed, and failed to find suitable educators, they cannot blame any other stakeholder for vacancies not being filled.

"I urge school management teams, where schools are currently closed, to communicate the department’s efforts to the parents." Read more HERE.

The Northern Areas Education Forum reportedly held a meeting with senior Education Department officials on Sunday and is expected to provide feedback to school governing bodies at Arcardia High School on Monday evening.

Another meeting is expected on Tuesday.

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