By Bongani Mdakane
Johannesburg – Tensions ran high when the police moered and shot at teachers and school directors outside the offices of the Gauteng Department of Education on Tuesday.
This is the same building where the MEC of Education in the province is based.
Drama started in the morning when the teachers of Sinqobile Primary, Butomi High and Siyaphambili High in Orange Farm went to the provincial head education head office to protest against the department’s failure to pay for subsidies owed to three schools.
What started as a peaceful protest, where the teachers supported by the South African National Civic Organization (SANCO) locked in education officials in their offices from 8:30am to 4:30pm with a chain and a padlock.
Protesters also closed off the parking lot entrance.
Watch video footage of the clash below:
Teachers anger was based on their claims that they did not get paid their salaries from August to November and also alleged that PPEs were not available at their schools, which they claimed that had put learners and teachers at risk of contracting COVID-19.
Protesters had earlier told the department’s security guards to “voetsek and fokof” as they sang and chasing the guards away.
Realizing that they we’re outnumbered, the guards called the police for backup
and all hell broke loose.
The cops forced their way to the door to break the chain and padlock used to lock the main door of the offices to free those held hostage inside.
One of the protesters who was shot on the neck with a rubber bullet, Duduzile Mabaso said, “I don’t understand why the police had to shoot at us. We were having a peaceful protest and suddenly there was a commotion. I got shot on my neck and got injured. I was taken to the South Rand Hospital for treatment and discharged. The police did us dirty.”
The police also bliksemed one of the school directors, Themba Ngobeni to a pulp and he was admitted to the hospital.
Attempts to get hold of Ngobeni were fruitless as he was still in hospital.
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