The 2019 school program in South Africa has been far from smooth, hitting rough waters right at the beginning. From thousands of children that remain without school in Gauteng to issues of alleged racism at various schools, threats by student bodies to shut down universities, the 2019 opening of schools has been nothing less than turbulent.

Schooling has been disrupted at Chumani Primary School in Reeston near East London in the Eastern Cape when angry parents and School Governing Body members protested outside the school’s premises.

They are protesting about the alleged unlawful appointment of two Deputy Principals.

They also accuse them of being corrupt. On Monday, an angry group allegedly chased the teachers out of the school and demanded keys to the principal’s office.

The School Governing Body’s Deputy Chairperson, Zwelixolile Nkohla says the department should handle the matter with urgency.

“They can return the keys for now, so the situation can return to normal. Then the issue of Deputy Principals will be discussed later, even if it’s by the District or Provincial office. But we maintain that we don’t want them here. I told you that for a while we were tolerant with these deputy principals, but their mismanagement has led us here.”

In North West, the School Governning Body of the Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke  has denied that there is racism at their school.

This follows a picture depicting Grade R learners divided according to race.

Different political groups picketed outside the school on Thursday, insisting on the removal of the teacher who took and distributed a picture showing the learners.

The teacher, Ellen Barkhuisen has been suspended by die MEC, Sello Lehari, with immediate effect, pending investigation into the matter.

In Limpopo, some parents have accused Laerskool Marble Hall in the Sekhukhune area of Limpopo of discriminating against their children based on race. They say their children have been refused entry to the school, despite applying in time for Grade 1. It is also alleged that only black children have been put on a waiting list.

The Online School Registration Application in Gauteng has received sharp criticism from parents, who came to register their children in Pretoria’s districts offices, including Hebron. The parents say they are frustrated with the online registration process, which has left their children without schools. 8 000 pupils are yet to be placed in schools around Gauteng, since schools re-opened for the 2019 calendar year.

In the Pretoria district of Sunnyside, parents arrived early in the morning, some for the second time, after they were turned away the previous day.

Hebron, North West of Pretoria, faces the same challenge, as more parents complained about the online registration system.

They say the process has left them with many challenges, which impact their children’s lives negatively.

With the high number of pupils yet to be placed, parents say they are frustrated by the registration process Hebron district.

Some parents at the Hebron district say applying on time didn’t help as their kids are still not registered.

This parent says he has lost faith in the online registration system and the government.

“Since re-opening of schools, we’ve been here up and down with no clearer solution. So, what we are saying is to the government is that the system has failed. Panyaza Lesufi you have failed ANC, you have failed.”

Meanwhile, EFF members were also seen in Sunnyside, assisting some parents in the long queues, which began early in the morning.

EFF Pretoria Chairperson MoAfrika Mabongwana says the online registration system is frustrating parents.

“People are unable to register because of the frustrating system that you can see here, and have been here since yesterday. So, we are here to assist with the backlog of the parents who are not able to register their kids.”

The Gauteng education department has re-iterated its promise to place all pupils in schools.

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