The DA is deeply concerned about the disruption of schools in Vuwani, even as the crucial trial examination period is currently underway across the country, thanks to the empty promises made by President Jacob Zuma in May 2017.

All grade 11 and 12 leaners will miss their exams today, and possibly for the whole week, as long as the shutdown persists.

Today’s shutdown was sanctioned by the Pro-Makhado Demarcation Task Team, after it announced the failed negotiations with government.

President Zuma’s announcement that Vuwani would be serviced by Vhembe District Municipality, after residents had rejected all services from the newly established Lim345, contravenes Section 156 of the Constitution which indicates that a local municipality has executive authority and the right to administer local government matters.

Since the pronouncement by President Zuma, the resolutions have not been implemented and the newly established municipality remains unfunded.

The shutdown could have been avoided if President Zuma had not made any promises but rather initiated a permanent solution to ensure that shutdown of services does not recur in the future.

More than 30 schools and government buildings such as SASSA, Home Affairs and Libraries were vandalised and torched – in damages that were estimated to be in excess R300 million.

It is clear that the Department of Education must now consider a contingency plan to keep learners in schools and relocate some of them to the adjacent towns and villages through the Learner Transport Programme.

Our leaners cannot be inconvenienced through unnecessary disruptions as a results of President Zuma’s cheap politicking and empty promises.

The DA believes that police visibility must also be increased to improve security at all the schools, businesses and government buildings to prevent any possible torching and vandalism.

The DA calls on the MEC for Education, Ishmael Kgetjepe, to initiate plans to rescue these stranded leaners in order for them to continue with their examinations, and consider a recovery plan to help those who were unable to write today.