Pupils fix trashed school

2011-02-23 00:00

PARENTS and pupils at Kwa­Ximba outside Cato Ridge have banded together to repair damage to St Julius Secondary School, which pupils vandalised after alleged differences over ANC nominations in local elections.

Windows were broken in a number of classrooms and in the administration area.

Pupils also damaged school equipment, including a fridge and a photocopy machine, on Thursday last week.

This prompted the Education Department to shut down the school. They ordered parents to take responsibility for the damage.

When The Witness visited the school yesterday morning, parents and pupils were busy with brooms and tools, cleaning and repairing the mess.

“We want this school reopened by Thursday morning. Parents said if we work hard enough, grade 11 and 12 pupils could resume their lessons and the other pupils could return on Monday,” said Grade 12 pupil Thandanani Mthembu.

The rampage started after a meeting between school governing body (SGB) chairperson Bonga Mkhize, school principal Phumzile Mkhize, teachers and ANC Youth League members during teaching hours at the school on February 3.

It is alleged the principal sent the pupils home at about 10 am as a result of the meeting.

Pupils accused the principal of compromising lessons to discuss ANC issues. They then ordered her out of the school.

It is alleged some parents wanted Bonga Mkhize to step down.

SGB deputy chairperson Mzikayifani Sithole said parents and pupils began repairs on Saturday.

“The repairs continued on Sunday, and on Monday parents and pupils came in big numbers to work,” he said.

SGB secretary Bonisiwe Phoswa said local community leaders approached businesses for funding as parents could not afford to pay.

Asked if they would damage the school again if the principal returned, pupils shouted out a loud “no”.

“This time we will rather negotiate the solution rather than doing things without thinking,” said one pupil.

A large number of pupils are said to have relocated to neighbouring Nqobile and Ngangezwe high schools.

“We want those pupils to return because, from now on, the school will operate normally,” said another pupil.

Education spokesperson Muntu Lukhozi said there is no written agreement that the school will be reopened once it is repaired, adding this would be decided by the department.

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