The Gauteng Education Department on Sunday said at least 53,000 pupils had not returned to school since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi put the blame on organisations and individuals who called for the school year to be scrapped.
“These are the people that took the department to court, these are the people that said the academic year must not continue. We believe 53,000 learners listened to these reckless leaders,
who some of them have failed as priests and politicians and felt that they can use the education space to propel their image and these are the people that must be held responsible.”
Lesufi said officials would determine why these pupils failed to return to school.
“As a department, we felt that we can’t just accept that they are not coming back, we going to trace them and speak to them so that the schools can also assist us in identifying where these learners reside and hopefully persuade them to come back at the beginning of 2021. But, the reality is, if they were not in class then they have to repeat their grades.”