Congress of South African Students (Cosas) bowed to community pressure and called off its indefinite protest action, which saw learning at several schools in some parts of Soweto ground to a halt for almost two weeks. This followed the court appearance of Molemo Maarohanye and Themba Tshabalala after their two speeding cars killed four learners and injured two during an alleged illegal drag race in one of the Protea Glen’s busy main roads.
Community organisations representing teachers, parents, youths, students and Gauteng provincial education department (GDE) met over the weekend to normalise schooling in the area by calling Cosas to suspend its protest action. The protest action was called to put pressure on the magistrate to deny Maarohanye and Tshabalala bail. They two have since been released on a R10 000 bail each.
GDE’s Charles Phahlane said the meeting commiserated with the bereaved families and those whose children were injured and also decided to “investigate how to appoint an amicus curiae or friend of the court” to represent the views and concerns of community members “who want to see justice done”.
As concerned stakeholder we abhor the alleged reckless driving and believe it is of the utmost importance for due legal process to take its course so that justice can be seen to be done, said Phahlane. He said they welcome Cosas commitment to halt its action to allow due legal process to proceed normally without interference. “We have confidence in the judiciary to effect this”, said Phahlane.
The meeting made a call to parents, learners and teachers to adhere to president Zuma’s call for teachers and learners to be in class for seven hours every school day. Other organisations represented at the meeting were ANC, South African National Civic Organisation, South African Democratic Teachers’ Union, National Association of Parents in School Governance, African National Congress Youth League and National Association of School Governing Bodies.