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2019-05-01 06:00
PHOTO: Kerushan pillayCopesville Secondary School pupils on Monday during a protest

PHOTO: Kerushan pillayCopesville Secondary School pupils on Monday during a protest

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VIOLENCE erupted at the Copesville High School on Monday after the pupils closed the school gate and started throwing stones at the teacher’s cars.

Pupils were demanding electricity to be reconnected in school and water to be restored.

The school has been without water and the electricity since March 29 after the municipality closed the water and disconnected the electricity.

The school is said to be owing the municipality just over R2 million for water and electricity and that is why it was disconnected.

This was confirmed my the Msunduzi Municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha.

She said : “Before the disconnection A notice was sent and an arrangement was made but they (school) did not commit to the instalment.”

Pupils said they have not been learning since the term started due to this problem and they want to go back to classes now.

“We would go to school and the teachers will come and sit in the office and not come to class. We will then be sent home early and be told that it’s because the school does not have water and electricity.

“We are so behind with out school work and we do not know how are we going to catch up. We did not even know that the school was owing the municipality,” said a grade 12 pupil who did not want to be mentioned.

Another pupils said : “On June 4 I ama starting my examinations how am I going to catch up in all the work that I missed?,” he said.

On Monday evening after the protest school principal Themba Xulu and ward councillor Sphamandla Madlala called a parent’s meeting to address the matter.

Speaking at the meeting Xulu said he has been trying to solve this matter with municipality from April 2 but the municipality was refusing to reconnect the school’s electricity and restore water.

“After that we held a meeting the management and the teachers and we then decided to pay R10 000 to the municipality but that did not help as they still refused to reconnect us,”he said

He blamed leaking and bursting water pipes as one of the reasons that has contributed to the municipal bill to have been accumulated to this amount.

He said the school has been having a problem of burst pipes since it was officially open in April 2001.

“There is a burst pipe everyday at Copesville Secondary because the companies that were building the school did not do a good job since they were not monitored by the engineers. This means that the school’s water bill will always be high every month and every year due to leaking water pipes,” he said.

He said he has been trying to report this problem to the department but the department does not assist. He said in some situation he would use the money that was meant to pay for water to hire a plumber that will fix the leaking pipes.

“There are some pipes that you can not touch if they are leaking because they were constructed by the department company. You need to contact the department and they need to send their technicians to fix it but that has never happened even after I have reported.”

Xulu also confirmed that the pupils have not been learning since this term started because of this problem.

“I am hurt as a principal that for the whole month the school has not been operating because of this problem. It is very difficult to get a child back on track of learning after a month of not learning.

“Even the June examinations we will be forced to postpone them to give them enough time to study and get ready for their examinations.”

He said he has been trying to report the problem of leaking pipes to the department since 2012.

“I have sent about 15 letters reporting this problem to the department but they did nothing. I even reported the matter to the education portfolio at the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature in 2015.”

Department of education spokesperson Sihle Mlotshwa said it is incorrect that there was no teaching and learning for this term.

“The problem started last week, but intensified yesterday resulting to the chaos that ensued. The electricity and water has been restored and teaching and learning is going to begin in earnest. We have made arrangements with the municipality to pay for the services ,” he said.

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