Teacher: school aid stifled by regulation

2010-04-13 00:00

A SCHOOL teacher wants government schools to be legally permitted to receive charity from fo­reign countries without having to first acquire permission from the Trade and Industry Department.

Charles Candy, a teacher at Tendela, a farm school in the Mooi River area, said government’s efforts to curb the criminal element that comes with receiving foreign donations has become so stringent that it is making it impossible for under-privileged schools to receive any assistance from outside the country.

According to Candy, people are buying goods from overseas, under the pretence of obtaining them for charity, to avoid being taxed, and later sell these goods for a bigger profit.

While he said he understood that the government needed to put measures in place, he believes that schools such as Tendela end up being the losers.

“We’ve received musical instruments from Holland, books from the U.S. and computers and soccer jerseys from the United Kingdom.

“But all our long-standing sponsors are drying up because of all the strict rules,” he said.

To receive donations, Candy said the school now needs to get a government permit from Pretoria. This means making calls to Pretoria repeatedly, which can be a laborious process.

“We are required to hire a shipping agent and, on top of that, pay for storage while those donations are being stored in a state ware house until the permit comes through.

“Now, for a struggling school, where does that money come from?” asked Candy.

Candy claims shipping and commercial companies are not required by law to let the beneficiaries know that the donated goods are in the country, which often means that they are not called to witness the unpacking of the goods.

“When we received the computers donated to us some were not working. But how are we going to prove how they got da­maged?” Candy questioned.

He said he lodged a complaint with the Education Department but he has been told that they can only act if the law is being broken, which is not the case.

“That’s why I’m appealing to politicians to look into it. They need to come up with legislation that will be more suitable for go­vernment schools,” he said.

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