“We want English and other languages in our local schools’ was the cry of the protesters from Malusi 1 and 2, adjacent to Pretoria North suburbs who went on the rampage on Wednesday morning, blocking busy roads and setting numerous tyres on fire in the streets.
Describing the unhappy situations their children go through to access schools that use English language as medium of instruction, the leader of the protesters, Mpho Mashishi read from a memorandum of demands saying:
Our children have to travel long distances to get to schools which use Afrikaans as the medium of instruction. When our children fail, they are excluded from the schools.
Mashishi further stated that they are demanding that the department of basic education enforce that all schools use English as the medium of instruction and that African languages must also be introduced in the schools.
“Our kids have the right to learn and to education, like everybody. They are born in this country and their parents fought for democracy. Black people must be integrated into these areas. This is a democratic South Africa,” he said.
This was read before the executive director in the Tshwane municipality, Lesutla Moroaswi, who was accompanied by several police officers.
In addition to this, the protesters claimed they have been tossed around Atteridgeville by the Tshwane municipality with promises of houses and electricity. They therefore demand that their right for basic services like electricity be provided for them so their children could study well.
“We need electricity and we can see that other communities here have electricity. The municipality has forgotten about us. We have the right to our properties permanently…the community also demanded recreational parks.” Mashishi added.
Amidst hostile reception Moroaswi received from the protester, he assured the them that the mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa, who was not present at the time of their visit would receive their memo.
Addressing their demand, Moroaswi said some of the demands on the memorandum are genuine. “We do know the demands, for example the issue of buses which carry their children to school is caused by the SAMWU municipal workers strike. As I’m speaking now, we have communicated with our department and in the morning the buses will be back to transport the children.”
He also promised the community members that the mayor would come and speak with them within the space of 7 to 14 days. He said he is sure of the mayor’s competence to address their pressing issues.