Learners Protest at Masimphumelele

16 February 2005
WESTERN CAPE MEC FOR EDUCATION Cameron Dugmore expressed relief after calmness was restored to the Masiphumelele township of Fish Hoek this afternoon, after violent protests by high school learners. The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) will investigate the matter.

Police had to be called in to restore the order. At least three police vehicles were damaged and two teachers sustained minor injuries.

Tomorrow departmental officials will visit the school to gather the facts and report to the Minister. Security guards will also be placed at the school as the teachers have expressed concern for their safety.

Minister Dugmore said he was concerned about the safety of the learners and teachers, and therefor happy that no serious injuries were reported. A 15-year-old learner was arrested for public violence, but later released.

Following the violent protests by the learners the WCED gave permission to close both the Masiphumelele High Primary schools. The Metropole South Education Management and Development Centre (EMDC) of the WCED will investigate all aspects of the incident.

It appears at this stage that the protesting learners wanted to attend an inter-schools athletics meeting. The principal and the school governing body have decided to send only a small team of athletes to the meeting, as they had already allocated a day for sports.

The behaviour of the learners involved is absolutely unacceptable. The department will also investigate the alleged involvement of a teacher who is said to have defied an instruction from the principal.

For enquiries, contact Gert Witbooi: 082 550 3938, or

Gert Witbooi
Media Secretary
Office of the MEC for Education
Western Cape
Tel: 021 467 2523
Fax: 021 425 5689
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