School raidedin pupil jobs probe

2010-10-18 00:00

A RICHMOND school received a surprise visit from an official from the Labour Department after being tipped off that pupils were being used to move bricks at the school’s construction site.

But the school says there has been no infringement of any labour regulations.

The Labour Department received the tip-off from a member of the public concerned about what was allegedly happening at Richmond Combined School on Friday.

An inspector was immediately dispatched to investigate, and approached the principal to verify the complaint.

Jay Anand, the Labour Department’s provincial spokesperson, said the principal acknowledged that “they were doing this”.

“But he said this was in line with a life orientation programme for grade 12 learners. He said it was a once-off activity.”

Anand said the basic conditions of the Employment Act prohibit the employment of children under the age of 15, or those who have not met the minimum requirement of school leaving.

He added that the Constitution further recognises the right of children to be protected from exploitation or risky work.

Education spokesperson Mbali Thusi said the the school had embarked on a classroom building project. She said the school raised the funding itself and began the construction project.

The pupils, aged 17 to 20, carried the bricks for about 40 metres and some of the school governing body members also pitched in. She said it took 15 minutes under the supervision of the head of department and three teachers.

She said the inspector found no infringement of any labour regulations.

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