Concerns over some learners not attending school after Jagersfontein mine dam burst

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Parents of learners, who are not attending school in Jagersfontein, are frustrated and demand answers. Some have been relocated to nearby towns. Three schools have been affected in Jagersfontein in terms of learner attendance.

About 77 learners have not been attending school after the mine dam burst and left families displaced and infrastructure affected.

Learning and teaching continue in Jagersfontein, while those affected by the disaster are still waiting for help.

Many of the affected learners are those in lower grades. The water and electricity infrastructure have also affected schooling.

The Department of Education says it has engaged the entity, Bloem Water to assist with providing water to schools. Generators have also been organised for electricity supply.

The Education Department is working on a catch-up plan to accommodate affected learners.

However, displaced parents have expressed their concerns that their children will fall behind with exams already underway.

Worried parents are not impressed.

One parent says, “I’m disappointed because the minister was here, the premier was here they said they were going to make a plan for the kids who are here. They will bring some teachers and what but still they have not done that… So I’m very disappointed.”

Another parent says, “Exams are around the corner how are our children going to work on their future it’s not right. I’m very very disappointed as a parent, I’m very disappointed.”

The provincial Education Department says there’s been poor attendance as a result of the fear and anxiety, loss of uniform and insufficient supply of water.

Free State Education spokesperson, Howard Ndaba, has appealed to parents to encourage learners to attend school. “We are making an appeal to all the parents, to all community members to make sure that they bring their children to school. Because our schools are safe when they are there they are going to get learning and teaching and we also have meals that they get and we have our programme that is continuing to nutrition. So we are making a call for them to bring their children to school because we believe strongly that our schools are safe.”

The destruction caused by a mine dam burst has left many residents homeless. The destruction caused by a mine dam burst has left many residents homeless and two people are unaccounted for.

One person has since died. The search and rescue operation is still underway.

The mudslide, which has affected about one thousand hectares of grazing land, has also contaminated the nearby stream.