WATCH: ANCYL brings KwaDukuza to a standstill

The ANCYL marched through KwaDukuza today, gathering upwards of 4000 demonstrators on their way to the district Department of Education.

The African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) marched through the streets of KwaDukuza this morning to protest against the poor 2016 matric results and what they perceive as the dismal state of schools in the district.

More than 4 000 people, including members of the ANCYL, Young Communist League (YCL) and predominantly children fetched from local schools on the first day of the school year, marched on the district Department of Education to hand over their memorandum.

Whether the ANCYL had permission to take thousands of children out of school is a question that still requires answering.

Neither the children nor the youth league themselves had an answer for this when it was put to them by our journalist this morning.

The memorandum’s primary demand was the immediate removal of Ilembe district director for education, Thembi Vilakazi.

When the crowds gathered at the department’s offices, chants of “Thembi out!” and “run, Vilakazi, run!” echoed through the streets.

Aside from Vilakazi’s immediate removal, the memorandum also demands strict oversight for under performing principals, timely and efficient delivery of textbooks to schools, a nutrition program, better training for teachers and the prioritisation of education as the district’s main concern.

Local business owners and street vendors were in two minds about the march, with some expressing support while doing booming business with the thousands of passers-by and others claiming that marches never solve anything and that the sudden influx of thousands of school children on the streets would lead to vandalism and thievery.

However, ANCYL members together with law enforcement officials kept good order among the marchers and ensured that they made their way to the department’s offices as quickly as possible.

Once at the offices, the leaders of the protest addressed the milling crowd.

“We demand quality and free education,” said ANCYL provincial deputy chairman, Kwazi Mshengu to wild cheers from thousands of people.

“We are here to be the voice of the voiceless and we have congregated here – in front of the department – to defend the youth of the working class and their futures.”

“District director Thembi Vilakazi is incompetent and must be removed,” Mshengu shouted, “Education must be a top priority!”

Dr Barney Mthembu,

Dr Barney Mthembu, signs on behalf of the Department of Education, acknowledging receipts of the memorandum.

Eventually – after much singing and dancing – the Deputy Director General of matric examinations in KZN, Dr Barney Mthembu, came out to address the crowd and sign for receipt of the ANCYL’s memorandum of demands.

Dr Mthembu expressed empathy for the frustration felt by so many pupils and their families and promised that the department would address these issues as a matter of urgency.

WATCH: North Coast Courier journalist Allan Troskie was there for the start of the march as it left the field next to KwaDukuza Clinic on its way through town.

 

WATCH: The march then moved through town, where it brought KwaDukuza to a virtual standstill.

 

WATCH: Courier journalist Allan Troskie managed to grab a quick interview with the ANCYL’s regional secretary, Musa Zondi.

 

Browse through some photos showing the extent of the march through KwaDukuza.

 

 

>>> Need some ideas for things to do? Check out Holiday Vibes.

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