Learners hospitalised during Khayelitsha matrics’ protest against cancellation of extra classes
Grade 12 learners at Kwamfundo Senior Secondary School are accusing school principal Mongezi Bonani of refusing to pay teachers an allowance for the extra classes they teach. As a result, teachers have cancelled the extra lessons.
- Eight learners and a teacher were taken to hospital during protests at Kwamfundo Senior Secondary School in Khayelitsha on Wednesday morning.
- The nine either inhaled smoke from burning rubbish or were hurt in the rush to leave classes during the protest.
- The Grade 12 learners are accusing their school principal of refusing to pay teachers their extra classes allowance.
Grade 12 learners are accusing school principal Mongezi Bonani of refusing to pay teachers an allowance for teaching extra classes. They say that, as a result, teachers have cancelled the extra lessons.
The pupils are also demanding that the school return money they paid for a school trip, which has now been cancelled.
The protest started just after 8am in front of the staff room. Learners sang and burnt rubbish inside the school premises. The principal reportedly left.
When GroundUp arrived, a number of students were in a teacher’s car, struggling to breathe. They were rushed to Khayelitsha District Hospital.
Others were singing in Ncumo Road outside the school premises. Some teachers were outside the school, saying learners had forced them to leave.
Learners began stoning passing cars, including a Golden Arrow bus. A police van arrived, followed by other law enforcement vehicles.
Police instructed students who were still inside the premises to leave. The students then hurled stones at the police and at people who were inside the school yard, mostly staff members.
Officers fired rubber bullets and students continued to throw stones.
Learners stopped protesting after School Governing Body chairperson Yanga Mjingwana addressed them. Photo: Nombulelo Damba-Hendrik
The learners left after School Governing Body chairperson Yanga Mjingwana addressed them.
Mjingwana said: “At this stage, it’s hard to say exactly why the learners are protesting. As you can hear, they are talking about teachers not being paid for extra classes, which resulted in extra classes being stopped.
“What I can confirm is that eight learners and an assistant teacher were rushed to hospital. Some inhaled smoke from the burning rubbish, while others got injured as they were pushing to get out of the classes,” he said.
Mjingwana said there would be a meeting with teachers on Thursday and, if necessary, with parents.
A matric student, who gave his name as Lwazi, said they were frustrated because the extra classes had been a help.
“On Friday we are supposed to start writing exams,” he said. “The principal knows that we need those extra classes and teachers have made it very clear to us that extra classes will only resume once they are paid.”
Principal Bonani did not respond to GroundUp’s calls and messages. (The education department does not permit principals to speak to the media.)
Comment from the Western Cape Education Department had not been received at the time of publication. DM
Originally published on GroundUp.