Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe visited Tembalethu Special School, in Gugulethu, on Friday February 17, to find out first-hand what challenges it faces.
Tembaletu is one of the few schools across the province that caters for children with special needs.
The school’s buses collect pupils at their homes across the Cape Peninsula in the morning and takes them home in the afternoons.But school governing body chairman John Sputa told Mr Radebe that transporting pupils
was the school’s biggest challenge, and it chewed up half its budget.
“We need additional funding for the transportation of the pupils.
“The buses are not wheelchair friendly,” he said.
Mr Sputa also complained that the UCT interns at the school were robbed frequently on the premises.
“At one point, our teachers were also robbed, while the pupils were physically attacked.”
School principal Nomuhle Gavu said they hoped the minister would do all he could to help the school.
She said they had built a sports ground, which helped the pupils, but they needed funding to look after it properly.
Mr Radebe promised to assign some officials to work with the school to ensure that pupils’ basic needs were met.
“No pupil should be deprived of their right to learn, he said.
“You must use this weapon to empower yourselves.
“Education will open doors for you,” he told the pupils, also warning them about the dangers of drugs and gangsterism. He praised the school for its role in the community and said it needed all the support it could get. Ms Gavu said they were grateful Mr Radebe had visited them and they hoped things would change for the better.