PORT ELIZABETH – About 52 Port Elizabeth schools will remain shut because of a crippling teacher shortage.

And some Northern Area parents have decided to keep their children at home in protest after tensions rose during a report-back meeting on Monday night.

Education officials stayed away as they had been warned the meeting could turn against them.

It was left to the Northern Areas education forum to inform parents that they would get only half the number of teachers they had asked for.

“As you sit with government you realise that you are dealing with processes in various departments and that it’s not moving like the people want. The people are not happy, they want it to happen immediately,” said Richard Draai, a spokesman for the education forum

The parents voted to keep the schools closed in protest and now they want the forum’s representatives to step down.

Parents say they have lost confidence in the forum members.

“I think the reason the parents are turning against them is because in the past whenever they came to give us feedback they would sing the praises of the MEC, the mayor and the premier …  and those are the very same people they engage with then they are coming back are they the right people to send there, we don’t want them to sleep in one bed. Surely not,” said father Marlon Daniels.

Parents say they will begin mass action next week unless the department gives in to their demands.

-Sandy Mccowen

– eNCA