Recent events have shown that students in the province of Limpopo have been subjected to bullying, school stabbings, gangsterism in schools, sexual harassment, corporal punishment, inappropriate sanitation and poor infrastructure.

Acting DA Limpopo Spokesperson for Education, Risham Maharaj MPL, said that the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Limpopo will table a notice of motion in the next legislature sitting to debate the Limpopo Department of Education’s inability to protect learners at schools within the province.

“As we commemorate International Children’s Day today under the theme ‘South Africa Fit for Children: Give children a voice to be responsible citizens’ it is clear that learners in Limpopo have not been provided with a safe and conducive environment for learning” said Risham Maharaj MPL.

He mentioned the recent incident of bullying that led to a learner committing suicide, the Limpopo teacher arrested on allegation of raping a female learner and reports of gangs in schools and learners being stabbed.

He added that the unabated dangers in Limpopo’s schools led to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) having a public hearing on bullying, corporal punishment and sexual relationships between teachers and learners.

The SAHRC stated that the evidence gathered during the hearings show the Limpopo Department of Education’s failure to deal with bullying, sexual offences and corporal punishment.

Limpopo province still has hundreds of schools with pit toilets which threaten the safety of children. Many learners still attend schools with dilapidated infrastructure, no running water and insufficient classroom space.

Maharaj stated: “The DA will raise this matter for debate at the next legislature sitting in order for MEC Polly Boshielo to lay out the plans the department has in place to address these serious issues that compromise the safety and dignity of our learners in Limpopo.

It is clear that Boshielo and the leadership in the Limpopo Department of Education are not doing enough to adequately protect learners. The DA believes that every child in school has the right to basic education, inherent dignity and an environment that is not harmful to their health or wellbeing.”

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