Parents demand safety plan for school

Pupils pleading for a safe school environment.

Teaching and learning has been halted indefinitely at Bardale Primary School, in Mfuleni, with parents and pupils demanding improved security at the school.

On Tuesday October 10, livid parents disrupted classes, preventing teachers and pupils from entering the premises, and called on the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) to implement safety measures.

They claimed the school had been burgled and vandalised several times, with the most recent burglary having happened on Saturday October 7. Computers and other electrical equipment were stolen.

Angry parents told Vukani that they decided to close the school until the department provided the school with secured premises.

When Vukani arrived at the school, parents and pupils were marching through the streets of the area, singing and dancing to freedom songs.

School governing body member Nomzi Naki said they were unhappy about the constant vandalism and burglary at the school. She said the school would be closed down until the education department came up with a solution to the problem.

“As parents we are not happy with the way things are.

“This school is always burgled and the principal has always informed us. We feel she is let down by the education department. Our teachers are losing focus.

“We need a new school and we won’t back down on that. Or this school will remain closed,” she warned.

The school was built in 2009. “Week in and week out the school is burgled and vandalised. We think should there be a proper structure, things will change for good. The principal has tried her best and we feel it is the Department of Education’s turn to work with us. We want our school secured,” she told Vukani.

Principal Ntombiyosindiso Mangcoto said she was disappointed with the police who had not yet arrested those responsible for the vandalism at her school.

And the response of the circuit manager for the Metro North Education District, Gregory King, seemed to anger the parents more, with some of them complaining he did not have solutions, and others suggesting that he be held hostage.

In the end, however, he was able to meet with the parents and teachers, and confirmed that he was aware of the burglaries which had taken place at the school.

“They have logged all their vandalism cases with (the education department’s) Safe Schools (unit). But this morning when the principal told me about the protest, I had to come here and see this. I had to meet with the parents,” he said.

However, he said, he was not in a position to say when or if the school would be rebuilt.

Mfuleni police spokesperson Captain Nomathemba Muavha confirmed two recent incidents, one in October and one in September which had been reported by the school. She said the cases were still under investigation and that no suspects had been arrested yet.

“Regular patrols are conducted around the school, especially after hours, however, the police cannot gain access to the premises after hours and be able to see who is hidden inside the classes,” she said.

blob Vukani asked the Western Cape Education Department for their comment on the matter, but by the time this edition went to print, they had not yet responded.