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Friday, January 21, 2022

Matrics miss exams because of “Black Monday” protests

Thabo Mohlala

Scores of matric learners missed their examinations while others arrived late following a blockade of the major freeways in Gauteng as part of a “Black Monday” protest against farm killings. Trucks and cars were used to blockade the highways.

According to reports, the main highways severely affected in Gauteng were the R59 in Vereeniging and N14 which carries traffic from Krugersdorp to Pretoria. Thousands also gathered in the Western Cape to convoy from Klapmuts near Stellenbosch to Cape Town.

Some frantic learners called Talk Radio 702 on Monday morning to express their anger and frustration. One learner said she was left with 30 minutes – she called at 8:30am and the examination was scheduled to commence at 9:00am – before she could sit for her maths paper examination. Sounding dejected, she had all but given up as traffic was not moving at all, she said.

Motorists stuck in traffic praised some Good Samaritan bikers who picked up some of the hapless learners and ferried them to their various examination centres. Regrettably, a good number of them were never lucky and would have to write supplementary next year subject to applicable rules and conditions of the department.

Gauteng education spokesperson, Steve Mabona told 702 that in situations such as this, chief district invigilators are given discretionary powers to look into learners’ specific circumstances. He said learners who, through no fault of their own, arrived late for the exam may be allowed to write if the invigilator is satisfied with their motivation for the delay. Mabona added that the invigilator should always ensure this does not violate the rights of learners who arrived early.

If a learner fails to arrive, said Mabona, to write and their reasons are subsequently considered legitimate, they would be allowed to write supplementary examinations early next year.

The protest is organised under a banner of a farmers’ movement called “Genoeg is Genoeg” (Enough is Enough) and it was launched after the murder of Joubert Conradie on his farm earlier this month.

With the old apartheid flag flying high at these protests, many on social media have branded the movement as racist.

Some, however, have contended that this march was not about white farmers only but about murders in general.

AfriForum, said although it supports the protests; it was not involved in organising it. The forum said since January this year there have been 70 fatal attacks on farmers and blamed the increasing deaths of farmers on poor policing.

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