Feuding chiefs ‘delay school’

2009-06-22 00:00

THE 15-year delay in the building of the only high school in Indawana, near Underberg, has been blamed on two traditional leaders who are allegedly fighting to have the school under their area of control.

Now the parents want the MEC for Local Government and Traditional Affairs to intervene.

A fed-up parent, who is also a member of the school governing body, said the “so-called” school currently consists of three run-down mud and stone buildings that used to be mission houses.

The rooms in the buildings have been partitioned into classrooms by planks.

While the KwaZulu-Natal Education Department has made money available to have a new school built, the money has had to be returned as a result of the dispute between the two chiefs in the area.

A close source to the matter told The Witness that the two chiefs are only separated by a river.

It was through the efforts of one of these chiefs that the area now has a high school, Indawana Senior Secondary. But ever since the department made plans to erect a new building known, the other chief is fighting to have the school situated in his area of control.

“It is ridiculous. We have been running, trying to get the school built for 15 years. The money and land is there, but it is because of two self-serving leaders who are only looking out for their own interests that the process is delayed,” said the angry parent.

He said the school is no longer safe and the parents fear for their children.

The parent said that because of a lack of space at the school, most of the 300 pupils have to be taught under trees outside regardless of the weather.

“It is not good, we are not happy. Where is the justice for our children and their teachers? This chief never attends meetings, but sends someone on his behalf and every time an agreement is reached and everyone signed for it, he comes and disputes it. He is holding up development. Where is the Constitution in that?” said the parent.

The source said that even councillors and the South Africa Democratic Teachers’ Union have been involved in the negotiation processes, but in the end they all fall away.

According to the source, the school has even had to reject pupils from four of the feeder primary schools in the area, simply because they have no place to put the children.

Efforts to get comment from the Education Department were unsuccessful.

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