Schools closed amid march violence

Learners from a primary school in Sunnyside. Photo: Thato Mahlangu

Academic activities and supplementary exams have been postponed at schools in Atteridgeville and Pretoria West

The move was prompted by violence that broke out during an anti-foreigner march in central Pretoria on Friday.

Schools in Mamelodi, Sunnyside and Pretoria Central were also affected.

Schools issued letters to parents saying they had a choice on whether to send their children to school or not.

Gauteng education department spokesperson Oupa Bodibe said the department did not approve of halting teaching and learning.

“Unfortunately, roads leading to schools have been barricaded. Therefore, the safety of educators and learners takes priority.”

He said the department relied on law enforcement agencies to safeguard the schools.

Bodibe said the department respected the rights of those who wanted to march, but protesters should not disrupt schooling.

“We humbly request residents who engage in protests not to disrupt learning and teaching in our schools.

“We also urge residents to use available structures to raise issues of concern and not resort to [disrupting] schooling.”

The march against illegal immigrants turned violent after protesters clashed with Somalia and Pakistan nationals in Marabastad.

The violence in Atteridgeville apparently started in the early hours of Friday and had spread to the city centre by noon.

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