Pupils left with no uniforms

2014-01-15 13:12

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Annzra Naidoo, The Witness

Pietermaritzburg - Over 100 children anticipating going to school in new uniforms on Wednesday had their dreams dashed when the business their parents had ordered them from closed its doors.

Many of the affected parents have had to fork out extra money for uniforms they had expected to get at cheap rates from Fay’s Schoolwear in Northdale, Pietermaritzburg.

Angry parents gathered at the business to collect the uniforms on Monday and Tuesday, only to find it locked and owner Fay Namulall’s phone switched off.

The parents had ordered uniforms from Namulall, some on the recommendation of schools their children were attending, last year. Some had paid deposits and some the entire amounts owed.

Locked out

Aside from the 110 parents who had placed orders with Namulall, C21 private school’s chairperson, Surendra Singh, had paid R36 000 towards uniforms for the school. And parents had paid R15 000 in addition.

“I don’t have the uniforms and Fay is gone. I am responsible for that money; the school is struggling financially as it is. She leases her business premises from me and has not paid her rent for four months. This weekend I locked her out of the premises. I don’t know what to do,” said Singh.

When confronted by The Witness, Namulall said the business had suffered and she was trying her best to get money together to reimburse the parents. She said she was not answering the phone or going to the business premises for fear of her life.

“I know the parents are angry. I’m scared of what they would do if they saw me. I’m not running a scam. This business suffered over a conflict with Mr Singh. We had a disagreement regarding the C21 uniforms; I thought the rent I owed would come out of the payment [for the uniforms].”

Namulall said she had contacted the parents on Saturday to collect the uniforms on Monday, but found when she arrived that she was locked out of the store and her sewing machines were gone, so she was unable to help them.

Many parents confirmed they were contacted to fetch uniforms.

Furious

Larisha Eurchan’s son will be going to school for the first time on Wednesday and she is furious that she did not have uniforms on time.

 “The school told me to come here. She took my money and is gone, and my son doesn’t have a uniform. I am going to send my son to school in his shorts and a vest. The school recommended her, they can deal with this,” she said.

Surayah Harrimohan, there to collect uniforms for her grandchildren, was disgusted: “Some people don’t have money for a plate of food, and now they’ve lost money trying to get their children ready for school.”

Shabana Govender had been eager to take a picture of her child, who starts Grade 1 today, in her school uniform to send to The Witness. Instead she missed the deadline and had to fork out more money to buy uniforms in time for school.

“After I got the call to pick up the uniforms I went there five times on Monday and once yesterday. My husband and I wanted to send a picture of our daughter to the paper. Now we’ve missed the opportunity,” said Govender.

'Cheaper than Pep'

A father said he had ordered the clothes from Namulall because her prices were “cheaper than Pep”.

Despite numerous people going to the police, a case has not been opened. The officers advised the parents to file a joint case rather than individual cases.

Colonel Jay Naicker said Namulall had reported to the police that she was evicted from her premises due to unforeseen circumstances and was unable to fill the orders. “Arrangements for reimbursements are being made between her and the clients regarding their deposits paid for the order,” he said.

Namulall said she is trying to reimburse her clients, even if it involves going to loan sharks.

- First day of school? Or back to school? Send us your stories and photos.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  education
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