On February 6, desperate Alphendale parents protested over the education department’s delay in getting the repair work done so their children can get back to school.
A group of parent’s also submitted a petition to the SGB calling for the removal of principal Gavin Appollis.
Officials from the Department of Education met with the protesting parents and confirmed that the main contractor would begin work on February 8.
One of the parents, Khanyisa Solani, said: “The government is too relaxed about this issue.
“The department doesn’t even mind that our children are going to fail. The SGB has failed us and the principal has failed us.
Presently the school is losing its top performing learners to other schools in the city such as Port Rex Technical High School as parents scramble to make alternative school arrangements for their children.
“If the department can’t fix the school, they must make alternative arrangements and one way of doing this could be to split the pupils and send them to surrounding schools.
Another parent said: “My main concern for my children is whether they’ll be able to cope with the work load when they do eventually get back to school, seeing as they’ve lost almost more than three weeks.”
Ward councillor for the Fynbos area, Kwanele Majeke, said “the parents are in the right to protest. In BCM, I was the first councillor to march against scrapyards because they are the main cause of vandalism within our communities and it is because of scrapyards that Alphendale was vandalised.
“These scrapyards operate illegally and take materials they know have been acquired through theft.
“Scrapyards do not care about our communities and do not care about our schools and the first step we need to take is to close them.”
Parents from Pefferville Primary School took to the streets on February 8 demanding the department to fulfil its promises to begin repair work on the school and supplying Jojo tanks and ablution facilities promised in a stakeholders meeting with the community, the principal and the department during the first week of the school year.
The repair work at the school is estimated at R4.65m.
One parent said “we don’t like protesting but we have been driven to this because when we met with the officials from Education and from Transport they promised us that they will provide resources like a pre-fab mobile toilets while the education department was busy fixing the school.
“We gave the officials two weeks to attend to this and we warned them. We waited patiently for the two weeks and when there was silence we went to the MEC for Department of Educations’ office. This also yielded nothing because his personal assistant told us he is not even aware of the vandalism at Pefferville Primary.
“We are protesting now because the department is dragging its feet when we agreed with them that they will be given two weeks to resolve the issues.
“Parents are fed up now, there is nothing we can do now except protest. We followed all the protocols and there was no effect.
Parents at the school said children in the area were begging at traffic lights at places like the Guild Theatre due to not receiving their daily meal through the school nutrition programme.
One parent said: “Parents need to go to work and without any supervision the children are exposed to the social ills in the community or are left to provide for themselves during the day.”
Arrests have been made in connection with the theft at Pefferville Primary, which has security fence, and principal George Plaaitjies confirmed one of the suspects was grounds staff member.
Community members from the Pefferville area claim that those from the school who were involved in the vandalism have done so because they did not receive their full wages.
Another former security guard who worked at the school said that since he left his post with the school towards the end of 2021 he still has outstanding payment owed to him.
Plaaitjies said not only were pupils losing out on teaching, but fed-up parents may move their children to other schools, putting Pefferville’s teachers’ jobs in jeopardy.