Motshekga’s Vuwani comments are reckless

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The DA will write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, Ms Nomalungelo Gina, to request an urgent joint meeting with the Portfolio Committees on Police and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, in terms of National Assembly rules 167(e) and 169.

This is after the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga’s, reckless utterances regarding the protests in Vuwani today. Motshekga was quoted saying that “If they continue to burn schools, let it be. Last year they really disrupted us – we didn’t get to other areas because we were all running to Vuwani. This time I am not going to Vuwani.”

The Minister’s sentiments are unacceptable, considering that, to date, approximately 30 schools have either been torched or severely damaged in violent protests in Vuwani. Renewed protest action has left almost 30 000 pupils out of school this week alone.

Instead of throwing her hands in the air, the Minister must find a durable solution to the grievances of Vuwani residents, and the injustice to these school children.

Last year the residents of Vuwani and neighbouring villages launched a protest against government plans to incorporate their villages under the new Malamulele municipality. When residents lost a high court bid to overturn the demarcation board decision, they resorted to violent protests.

The crisis in Vuwani has been left to fester for too long and Parliament must now intervene to assist in finding long-lasting solutions.

The DA does not condone any form of vandalism and violence, and we will explore every possible avenue to ensure that the education of these 30 000 students are prioritised. We cannot allow that the protests action of Vuwani residents to further infringe on learners’ Constitutional right to education, similarly we cannot allow the Minister to shirk her responsibility in this regard.

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