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Mpumalanga
Apr 17 2012 1:13PM
 
Charges against 'unruly' parents, pupils withdrawn
DISMISSED: Charges against Johannes Mahlangu, left, and Walter Mokoena were withdrawn.
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France Nyaka

The group appeared in the KwaMhlanga Magistrate's Court on Thursday on charges of malicious damage to property and public violence.

The courtroom was packed with pupils and parents in support of the accused. Heavily armed police maintained peace. The arrests were made on Wednesday after the pupils allegedly pelted police and government officials' vehicles with stones.

Two vehicles belonging to the department of education were damaged allegedly by the unruly pupils and parents during the protest against the school principal, MF Selahle.

The action started with a class boycott before the end of the first school term after angry pupils accused the school's principal of being abusive towards them and of being behind the suspensions of ten teachers at the school.

The department's district office last week acknowledged that the teachers were suspended after they failed to follow departmental procedures.

Magistrate Andre Du Preez warned the parents and pupils and later withdrew the charges. "The court warns you and parents not to take the law into your own hands, but to follow the correct procedures.

The court withdraws the charges against you," he said.

However, Du Preez would not explain why the court decided to withdraw the matter.

Speaking to The New Age outside the court, one of the arrested parents, Walter Mokoena, 50, said: "We went to the school to find out why our kids are always not attending classes.

We were shocked when police arrested us and accused us of supporting the protest against the principal." Another parent, Johannes Mahlangu, 58, said: "We are happy because the court understood our role as parents and withdrew the matter.

provinces@thenewage.co.za

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