Parents queue for school enrolments

Johannesburg - Several Gauteng parents braved chilly weather in Pretoria and Johannesburg from the early hours of Tuesday morning to queue outside schools hoping to secure enrolments for their children.

At Hamilton Primary School, in Pretoria central, more than 100 parents began queuing from 04:00. All the parking spots outside the school were taken up by 06:00.

'It's tough being a parent'

Parent Isabel Chilembe said she was surprised to see the long queue when she arrived at 08:00.

"It's tough being a parent. The school gave us notice to say we can start submitting the applications from 08:00. I don't know why people came in the wee hours."

Abel Mkhize said he joined the queue shortly after 04:00, hoping to get his 6-year-old daughter a place alongside her sibling.

"I think it is much better for us as parents if our kids attend the same school. It would be hectic having to drive to different schools transporting the children in the massive Pretoria central traffic."

There were also queues at several other schools in Johannesburg including Bryanston Primary, Parkview Primary, Fourways High School and Montrose Primary.

At Montrose Primary in Sandton, Piliswa Nongcawula said she arrived at 06:50 and finished around 08:36.

"Some people arrived at the school at 06:00. Gates only opened at 06:30 for enrolment," she said.

"The line was not very long, but it took very long. There were about 20 people in front of me. I waited one and a half hours."

1km queue

At Fourways High School, people were seen camping outside in a queue on Monday. The queue extended about one kilometre around a corner with gazebos and camping chairs set up.

At Bryanstan Primary, north of Johannesburg, parents had started queuing from 19:00 on Monday evening.

Gauteng department of education spokesperson Phumla Sekhonyane said some parents were extremely eager to register their children.

There are limited spots at most schools, and those spots are mostly taken by those parents who work or reside within a specific distance from the school.

"We look at a five kilometre radius where the parent works or resides," said Sekhonyane.

"We are aware that parents are eager to register their children at certain schools, and we've encouraged principals to make available facilities such as school halls and ablution facilities [for them]."

She said those who did not get a place in the school they wanted could apply to neighbouring schools.

"There are other schools in each area. Parents can apply to them."

Some people who live further off sometimes get into a queue hoping that if it is not full, the school may accept them.

Paying people

The Star on Tuesday reported that parents wanting to get their children into Parkview Primary School were paying other people to stand in the queue for them.

Bongani Ngcobo was quoted as saying he gets paid R250 a day and two meals for queuing.

The application process for space in public schools began on 7 April and ends on 27 May, said Sekhonyane.

On 7 April, people collected the application forms.

The return of application forms began yesterday and will continue until 27 May, said Sekhonyane.

"They started returning application forms from yesterday. They have up until May 27 to return the forms, but those who want to be higher up on the waiting list queued yesterday and today," said Sekhonyane.

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