Woman ‘forced’ to work

2016-09-14 06:00
NTSWAKI MOKOENA working in the garden of the Nthute Primary School.  Photo: Tladi Moloi

NTSWAKI MOKOENA working in the garden of the Nthute Primary School. Photo: Tladi Moloi

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BOHLOKONG. – Regardless of her agreeing to work in the Nthute Primary School’s garden as payment for her child’s school fees, Ntswaki Mokoena (32) has allegedly been victimised and threatened that her child will be deregistered.

She said she made this agreement with the school’s principal and the School Governing Body (SGB).

She lamented bitterly that she continues to be threatened that her child would be deregistered by the school if she stopped working. She claimed she had been told to do more work.

Mokoena who hails from Bohlokong near Bethlehem said she was told to work in the garden as means of paying for her child’s school fees.

Express Qwaqwa spotted Mokoena hard at work using a garden fork and a pickaxe in the garden of the Nthute school.

She told this publication: “I’m doing this for the future of my child. Late last month my child came home with a letter that stated that we should pay R350 before 2 September.

“I went to school to talk to the principal, since I did not have that kind of money.

“I’m unemployed and for me to pay that it means I have to take part of the child grant to pay school fees and this means we will be starving for the whole month.”

“When I arrived at the school the principal told me that she could not say anything until I meet with the SGB. I was told to come on 6 September to meet with the SGB, which I did. When I arrived I was told that I should work in the garden before I could sign forms that stated that I have paid the money,” she said.

The heartbroken mother said she went to the garden where she was told that she must work from 08:00 until 14:00 until she had finished paying the school fees.

“The next day I reported at school and started working. I finished before 12:00. I went to the office to report that I had finished and was ready to sign. They went back with me to the garden and extended the area and I was told to work again,” a tearful Mokoena said.

“Do we really have to be treated like this by our own black people for the future of our children?” the distraught mother asked.

Howard Ndaba, spokesperson for the Free State Department of Education, said no parent can be forced to work as payment for his or her child’s school fees.

“The school is a no-fee school and no parent is obliged to work as payment for his or her child’s school fees. Parents, however, have agreed to contribute in any way possible to raise funds for the school.

“The woman was either absent at a meeting where such a decision had been taken, hence she’s not aware. But no child will be expelled or deregistered from school because the parents do not have money to pay school fees,” stressed Ndaba. Watch video of woman at work on Facebook.

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