Protest over ‘death trap’ school

Angry parents of Schornville Primary School pupils in King William’s Town, led by the school governing body, marched to the Eastern Cape education department’s head offices in Zwelitsha yesterday to demand the construction of a new school.

A total of 1200 pupils at the school from Grade R to Grade 7 have to use four blocks of dilapidated prefabricated structures. Only one block is constructed from brick.

Protesting parents of Schornville Primary pupils are addressed by department of education provincial heads yesterday.
Protesting parents of Schornville Primary pupils are addressed by department of education provincial heads yesterday.  Image: Malibongwe Dayimani

It houses 205 pupils. The rest must learn in collapsing prefab classrooms.

The chairman of the SGB, Mzwandile Vaaiboom, who is also an ANC PR councillor, said the prefabs were regarded as temporary structures when they arrived – 47 years ago.

Now they are falling apart, exposing children to danger.

Vaaiboom said the parents have had enough with the department of education’s empty promises and lies.

“The department of education put an advert in a newspaper announcing that a contractor would be on site at this school by October 6 2017 but nothing happened. We don’t want any more delays.”

Vaaiboom said the department had also promised four prefab structures which never materialised.

The department, led by infrastructure head Zama Mnqanqeni, yesterday visited the nearly empty school after a large group of parents decided last week to keep their children from attending what they called the death trap school.

Yesterday’s meeting was tense. Taxi owner Mpumelelo Mkencela, who has two children at the school, said the state of the school was infringing on the rights of children.

“Kids are naughty. Every second they spend alone at the house spells trouble. What if they burn down the house? I don’t need them at home alone. They must go back to class.”

Mandisa Ncedo yelled: “Why is this oppression under democracy worse than that of the apartheid government?”

Provincial education spokesman Malibongwe Mtima said:

“We agreed with parents on the majority of their demands. There is a road map that has been set out on how we will deal with this matter.”

Mtima blamed a shrinking infrastructure grant for being unable to meet the target to build schools.

The Dispatch previously reported that in 2017, R415-million – 26% of the R1.574-billion allocated to the Eastern Cape for school infrastructure – had been underspent.

Mtima said the school could use the R369695 it had been allocated for norms and standards maintenance to renovate the dilapidated structures.

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