High court may step in as school remains locked

2013-07-18 00:00

THERE was no teaching or learning at Oakford Primary School in Verulam yesterday for the third day as the school’s gates remained locked with a padlock.

The Education Department could not say whether a meeting of a task team to resolve an ongoing lease dispute between the landlord, Marius Maritz, and the department took place.

Department spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi confirmed no schooling took place yesterday.

This happened against the backdrop of reports that the department asked the high court to intervene in the dispute.

Neither Maritz nor Mahlambi could be reached late yesterday afternoon to confirm the legal action.

Maritz apparently locked out pupils and teachers on Monday because he wanted them to use another entrance to the property.

The school has been closed since Monday, the first day of the new term,

The alternative route would mean that pupils would have to walk through sugar-cane fields to get to class.

A visit by The Witness to the school yesterday found the main gate to the premises wide open after the parents broke the padlock later on Monday.

However, a second entrance to the school was locked with a padlock while security guards manned the locked gates.

The security guards said no pupils had arrived at the school and that teachers were at the premises of the adjoining Sacred Heart Secondary School.

The department and Maritz have been at loggerheads in recent months. Maritz initially wanted to evict the pupils from the hostel premises.

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