Parents protest about new school

2018-01-31 06:01
PHOTO: Makhosandile zuluThe parents of Msilinga Primary pupils protest outside the school demanding that the new school building should be used immediately.

PHOTO: Makhosandile zuluThe parents of Msilinga Primary pupils protest outside the school demanding that the new school building should be used immediately.

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THE parents of Msilinga Primary School pupils protested outside the school in Ezinketheni on Monday and barred pupils and teachers from entering the premises.

The parents were protesting over an incomplete school building demanding that pupils and teachers should start using the new building instead of the mobile classrooms.

Parents said construction of the school building began seven years ago and their children have been overcrowded in the mobile classrooms all this time.

The chairperson of the school governing body, Ray Mabena said the number of pupils enrolled at the school in 2017 was 1 200.

Parents also complained that the desks in the mobile classrooms are damaged and dirty, pupils have to use mobile toilets which they said are not maintained and cleaned regularly, adding that the school is generally in an unhygienic state, which affects pupils’ general health.

The parent of an eight-year-old Grade 2 pupil, Ntombikayise Dlamini, said her child was almost injured when the child was pushed by a peer into a zinc wall of one of the mobile classrooms, which makes it even more urgent that pupils no longer use the mobile classrooms.

Parents said at a meeting with the school governing body and stakeholders before the closure of school in December last year it was announced the new school would be complete by this January and would be in use by the start of the 2018 academic year.

Mabena said, however, the implementing agent has stated the completion date would be in June.

“This is not the first time the completion date has been moved back - last year it was announced that the school would be complete by April [2017], then it was said it would be done by June [2017], but again the deadline was moved to October {2017].”

He said the implementing agent has not given reasons for the delay.

“We want the department [of education] to tell us what is wrong with the implementing agent,” said Mabena.

Mabena lamented about the cost incurred through renting and maintaining the mobile classrooms.

The parent of an eight-year-old Grade 4 pupil, Nomusa Ntshangase, said her child was badly injured at the school and left disabled when a strong wind blew the roof of one of the mobile classrooms onto her child in 2017.

Teachers rushed her child to hospital and later a donation drive was held to help her provide for her and her child as she had lost days of work attending to the child during his hospitalisation from January to February 2017.

DoE circuit and district offices officials met with the SGB and the principal outside the school premises on Monday at the demonstration by the parents.

Mabena said officials at that meeting said the district office had authorised that the new building should be used by the start of this year, however, the contractor had disclosed that the biggest delay was with the connection of electricity and the provision of water.

He further said officials revealed the completion of the new school would take seven months, but parents said they would not accept that.

Mabena said an electricity transformer should be installed at the school with the authorisation from the Msunduzi Municipality.

He said on Friday (tomorrow) the SGB will meet with the DoE to discuss the way forward pertaining to the issues raised by the parents.

The parents demanded that the new school building should be used while the water and electricity connections are being made and the contractor completes outstanding work.

They added that should this request not be fulfilled following tomorrow’s meeting the strike would continue.

KZN DoE spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa said: “Parents are urged to engage in discussions with the department and other stakeholders and the department is aware that the matter is urgent, but alternative means to find a resolution are available.”

Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said: “The municipality can confirm that the application for electrical connection was made on behalf of the primary school, our officials together with the appointed service provider undertook the site visit and agreed on the position of the meter box, and it was agreed with the service provider that once the work has been done the electricity sub-unit will be contacted for inspection.

“Therefore the [onus] rely on the service provider to inform the sub-unit to do final check and approval.

“The water and sanitation sub-unit confirmed that the primary school has the water meter, should the meter not been working it need to be reported [sic].”

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