When member of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC), established to oversee the return to normality in Vuwani and surrounding areas, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi, arrived at Kolokoshani Secondary School, on Thursday morning, to monitor academic activities at the school, teachers and learners were already in their classrooms.
The IMC, headed by Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Des van Rooyen, was established after an unprecedented outbreak of violence that saw the torching of 24 schools, as well as other acts of intimidation and violence. The violence followed the ruling by the Limpopo High Court to affirm the decision of the Municipal Demarcation Board, to amalgamate Vuwani with parts of the Malamulele municipality.
Learners in the area were back in their schools, today, following an agreement reached by the IMC and the local structures on Wednesday.
“I am enjoying seeing all our students and teachers back at their schools today. As government, we are actively involved in the education system in our area because we strongly believe that education is the passport to a better life.
“As we are working towards restoring peace and stability in the area, we are appealing to our people to allow public transport services to operate and businesses to open. Although learning at all the schools in the area is not 100 percent, but as government, we are happy that our learners are back to school,” she said.
Acting school Principal Aaron Manenzhe said: “We were one of the top performing schools at the Vhuronga 1 circuit, last year. We were in position 2 with 95.2 percent pass rate, where 50 students passed with a Bachelor.
“This academic year, we’ve a total of 124 learners in grade 12 and our aim is to make sure that they all pass with Bachelor. Yes, our academic programme was affected by the strike, but we are working on establishing up programmes,” she said.
Learners speak out
One of the learners, Carol Ramutsinde, said: “Sitting at home doing nothing was very frustrating because as learners we know that even though we are not coming to school, at the end of the year we will be writing the final examinations and it will be very difficult for us to pass.
“However, we are glad that the Ministers deployed in our area managed to get to a solution so that we can come back to school. We are appealing to those who are striking not to deny us access to education,” she said.
Thilivhali Magadani, a grade 9 learner at Kolokoshani, said: “The shut-down was a serious concern to her more than to other learners, because I am repeating grade 9 because I failed last year.
“This year, I have been working very hard because I want to see myself in grade 10. As learners, we are seriously worried about this shut-down, but now we are happy that we back at school attending”.
Andani Makushu, grade 8 from Edson Nesengani said: “I am happy to be back at school, I want to appeal to government and our leaders to find a lasting solution to this problem which is affecting our academic activities.”
Minister Muthambi also visited Tshivhazwaulu Primary School before she went to Tshimbupfe Tribal council to engage with residents and their traditional leaders.
At the village, which is outside Vuwani, roads are still blockaded with rocks and learners are not yet back at their schools. On the way to the village, Minister Muthambi had to stop on the badly damaged gravel road to remove rocks.
Businesses at Vuwani shopping complex remained closed, while taxis have started operating.