Angry parents and community leaders disrupted a meeting held at Bardale Primary School, in Mfuleni, with government officials, on Thursday October 12. For at least three hours, they blocked the school gate and refused to allow the officials to go in, demanding improved security measures (“Parents demand safety plan for school” Vukani, October 12).
The parents said the school had been vandalised many times and claimed that the government had previously made a commitment that between the 2016 and 2017 financial year a permanent school would be built.
But no inroads had been made so far.
However, the officials maintained that according to their books, the school had been earmarked for reconstruction in the 2021 financial year.
This news, however, was met with heckling and anger-and prompted the residents to boycott the meeting and protest outside the school.
Deputy director general of institutional development and co-ordination in the Western Cape Education Department, Tau Matseliso, told the parents that he was not aware of promises having been made, but committed to going through the department’s archives for verification of the claims.
Mr Matseliso said they had visited the school to listen to the parents’ concerns and assess the school’s needs.
He urged the parents and the community leaders to work with the department and allow government to do its work.
“The community must work with us.
“They know that the government budget is under pressure.
There are many other communities that are facing the same situation,” he said.
Mr Matseliso said the schools safety unit would be instructed to assess the school’s needs and make a decision.
Former ward councillor Themba Honono claimed that during his tenure, the department had committed to building a school.
He said he was shocked to hear that the school would only be built in 2021.
He said he had had documents proving that the school would be built in 2017 but he had lost them when residents burnt his office last year.
Parent Nomawethu Nombewu said in winter the classrooms were too cold and in summer they were too hot.
Ms Nombewu accused the government of not taking black people’s education seriously.
“We are standing up for our children’s right to education.
“Education is not a privilege but a right.
We will fight until they give us what we want – which is a proper school,” she said.
Chairperson of the School Governing Body, Masomelele Notyalwa expressed his disappointment that the parents had disrupted the meeting, saying it was not an appropriate way to try to resolve the matter.