19 July 2018


THE OFFICIAL BOKONE BOPHIRIMA GOVERNMENT NEWSPAPER

Madibogopan pupils return to school, Taung school torched  

by: Obakeng Maje   date: 01 June 2018

The children of Madibogopan are finally going back to school, more than two months since the community there took to protesting because they demand a tarred road. 
 
A task team of Bokone Bophirima Provincial Government announced this week that it has reached an agreement with the community of Madibogopan after a visit there on Tuesday. 
 
The government task team is made up of 
MECs for Education and Sport Development Sello Lehari, Community Safety and Transport Dr Mpho Motlhabane, Local Government and Human Settlements Fenny Gaolaolwe as well as Mmule Maluleke of Public Works and Transport Management. 
 
Lehari applauded the decision taken by the community to allow children to return to school after a stand-off over service delivery protests. The community embarked on a protest, demanding that a road that links Madibogo and Motsitlane villages be tarred.
 
“We engaged with Madibogopan community and all other stakeholders. We have reached an agreement that learners are going back to school on Monday. The department will also come up with a recovery plan for those learners who did not attend school for over two months. So, we are happy about the outcome of the engagement on Madibogopan issue,” Lehari said.
 
MEC Motlhabane urged community members  to refrain from burning schools and other public property when they have grievances. He said his department would continue to assist the Department of Education and Sport Development with security at schools.
 
“The responsibility of security at schools lies with the Department of Education. However, we urge our communities to be active citizens and assist schools when coming to safety. We urge community members who have concerns to follow constitutional processes to address their matters instead of embarking on violent protests.
 
“Our police respond swiftly if they are needed,  especially in our schools. You will realise that the police’s response after the incident was swift. This means there is a good working relationship between the police and the school. So, we will keep assisting the Department of Education in relation to school safety and doing our patrols as well,” he said. 
 
One of community leaders, Thabo Makhate, said even though nothing tangible was agreed upon on the tarring of the road, it was a good decision to allow school children to go back to school on Monday.
 
“We were engaged in a meeting between the North West MEC of Public Works and Roads, Mmule Maluleke and other MECs from Community Safety and Transport, Dr Mpho Motlhabane and Local Government and Human Settlements, Fenny Gaolaolwe. Our demand still stands. The community demanded a 26km tarred road, but compromised that they can settle for 13km for now because the department said it has no budget,” Makhate said.
 
He further said they cannot deprive their children of education as it is the only tool to get out of poverty. Makhate added that the community urged educators to ensure that they use their time adequately to help learners catch up on time lost.  
 
One of the residents, Paul Lebona, said even though he understands the grievances of the community regarding service delivery, prohibiting pupils from going to school was wrong.
 
“Education is the solution in addressing socio-economic challenges like poverty, inequality and unemployment. So, it is important to empower our young people so that they can contribute positively to human society.
 
“Education serves as a platform to impart knowledge and skills to make mankind a rational being. So, it is important for the society to see education as an integral measure to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to make informed and reasonable decisions,” he said. 
 
Meanwhile, Lehari condemned the torching of Lephatsimile High School in Molelema village in Taung. It is believed that this incident is related to the community’s demand for a tarred road. 
 
Taung police confirmed that they were investigating a case of arson after the school was set alight in the early hours of Sunday morning. The police confirmed that seven classrooms and an administration block were torched.