200 kids miss out as bogus schools shut

2013-02-03 21:44

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White River - Seven suspects arrested in connection with running bogus schools in Mpumalanga are expected to appear in court on Monday.

The suspects were arrested on Friday by the Hawks.

Two schools, InterCity College in Rocky Drift near White River and Tactics Christian School in Mkhuhlu near Hazyview were also shut down, leaving hundreds of children stranded.

“No bogus school will operate in the province under my watch," Education MEC Reginah Mhaule told African Eye News Service.

"We will operate around the clock with the SAPS to make sure that those who operate these illegal schools are brought to book."

Provincial education spokesperson Gerald Sambo said officials will meet with the parents of the affected pupils on Monday to discuss their future.

"We will try to find other schools where the children can be admitted, after speaking with their parents,” said Sambo.

Mhaule said the department's curriculum implementers will determine if the children were taught in line with departmental standards.

“[This will] ensure they are placed in [suitable] grades,” she explained.

She urged all parents to always check with the department if a particular school is registered before enrolling their children. 

At InterCity College, about 80 pupils, including 13 matriculants, were sent home.

“Our yearly school fee is R17 000 in total, and my mother paid the total, including R1 200 which the school says is for writing matric exams at a certain place we don’t know.

"That was the last money my mother had and now I do not know what to do.

"I’m going to see what the department of education is going to do with us, but I'm happy they are trying to make our education legitimate,” said Grade 12 pupil Nonhlanhla Nkosi, 21.

The suspects at InterCity College include the 47-year-old director, his 40-year-old wife and assistant director, the 39-year-old principal and a 26-year-old admin clerk. The director and his wife are Zimbabwean nationals.

At Tactics Christian School, 121 pupils, including the director's son, were sent home.

The director's son said his father had been operating the school since 2006.

“I’m the son of the director, my father told me the school is fine and registered. I'm in Grade 11...I had no choice of school, my father forced me [to come here],” he said.

The 52-year-old director, who also ran a church at the school, was arrrested along with the 28-year-old principal and a 26-year-old teacher.

On Monday, the four suspects from InterCity College will appear in the White River Magistrate's Court and the three from Tactics Christian School will appear in the Calcutta Magistrate's court. 

They are charged with contravening Section 49 of the South African Schools Act.

Read more on:    reginah mhaule  |  mbombela  |  education
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