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Officials 'attacked' as irate parents queue for places at Gauteng schools

03 November 2019 - 13:53 By TimesLIVE
Parents queue for places at schools for their children in Gauteng on Sunday, November 3 2019.
Parents queue for places at schools for their children in Gauteng on Sunday, November 3 2019.
Image: Twitter/@MaNdlovuP_1802

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said officials at district offices, helping frustrated parents find places at schools for their children next year, were intimidated and attacked on Sunday.

The placement period for admissions of children in grades 1 and 8 at state schools in the province was scheduled to close on October 31 but a day before the deadline there were  about 77,000 parents who had neither declined nor accepted placement offers for their children.

District offices were open on Sunday to deal with the backlog. But the process did not go smoothly.

Lesufi said in a series of tweets on Sunday that the “majority of our ‘good schools’ are full and we are trying to find proper alternatives”. He said no pupils would be left without a school.

Some parents took to social media saying they had queued for hours and were then informed the “system is down”.

Others were circulating a petition calling for the cancellation of the Gauteng education department's online admission system.

Lesufi said some staff had been intimidated and even attacked and they had to be persuaded to return to work.

“We’re fully aware of what’s happening at our district offices. Our sincere apologies, we are getting extra staff members to support us. Unfortunately being a Sunday, we don’t have a full complement of staff members but we are attending to the situation. I’m on my way to districts,” tweeted Lesufi.

“Dear parents, kindly take note: Assaulting our officials who are trying to assist, with placements can’t be tolerated. We’ve persuaded union members not to pull out their members from our district offices however if a single official is attacked we will withdraw the service,” he added.