School sent home

2017-05-30 16:38
The Leadership College in Manenberg is facing eviction since it has not agreed on a new lease, which expired last year.

The Leadership College in Manenberg is facing eviction since it has not agreed on a new lease, which expired last year. (Earl Haupt)

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For us as parents there are a lot of questions. Are they mismanaging their funds on the Leadership College (TLC) side? Is Child Welfare bullying them into just paying an exorbitant amount of rent again or what is going on? We just want to get to the bottom of it, so that we can prepare our children for whatever needs to happen going forward.”

This is one parent’s view following an urgent meeting at TLC’s premises in Manenberg, when a number of parents of learners were left with more questions than answers.

Parents who contacted People’s Post say the meeting revolved around the school being faced with eviction. The school has been leasing land in Kasouga Street from Child Welfare Cape Town.

Ashra Norton, TLC director, told the parents that a new lease agreement was needed after the last one expired at the end of last year.

“According to what she told us, they gave her an option of increasing the rent from R28 000 to R68 000. I don’t know why they gave her that option if she was such a bad tenant.

“That is all we were told and that they were going to be evicted. She admitted that there were months where she did not pay the rent,” says the parent.
Representatives of TLC failed to respond to numerous queries by People’s Post throughout the last week, with calls remaining unanswered.

Child Welfare Cape Town has reportedly filed an urgent application for an eviction notice, to be granted for the end of the school year in order to not disrupt the academic year.

Jessica Shelver, spokesperson of the provincial education minister, says TLC qualifies for the department’s maximum subsidy of R6 336 594 per year.

“It, however, appears that the Leadership College is not able to sustainably manage its affairs satisfactorily, as there have been ongoing disputes with the landlord, as well as financial concerns.

“The provincial education department will continue to provide the subsidy should the school be able to provide evidence of a 12-month lease in addition to other criteria. It would be financially irresponsible to provide subsidies to schools that show no evidence of continued residence at a certain site and there is no justification whatsoever to deviate from the norms and standards subsidy that they qualify for.

“We will accommodate the learners that currently attend the school in public schools on application by the parents,” says Shelver.

A mother of a learner at the school, who did not want to be named either, says Norton had communicated the school’s situation in the past.

“A couple of years ago she mentioned that they were still fighting for the premises the school was on and that she was not going to bombard us with that but was still letting us know because she could not do much else with the school in terms of improving it,” says the parent.

She adds that the debacle is affecting her child already.

“My child is very despondent and unhappy about it for the mere fact that their school is going to close down. First she wants to know how she can start all over again when she is nearly finished with school. For her it is going to be a huge change and it cannot take place right now for her as a child, because this is happening at a very important point of her life where she has to stay focussed. Staying focussed is a bit difficult for her.”

The father of another learner of TLC says he will continue to back the school but the school management themselves need to be more transparent about their dealings.

“I am prepared to fight for the school, but it is not worthwhile for me to fight for something if they are in the wrong and I don’t know that yet. It bothers me that Norton does not want to answer questions.

“I would like an impartial decision to be made by someone who is not biased towards either side, just looking at the facts. I hope they come to some agreement and not for other personal issues or other issues.

“Think about the children, don’t care about the personal aspect or if it is politically influenced. Think of how we can fix things. If there is a way to fix the situation, think about the best possible outcome for the children,” he says.

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