School ‘closure’ anger

2019-07-02 06:00

A small group of residents in Manenbergare fuming and have accused the provincial education department of being responsible for all the crime in the area.

This comes after a local school, Silverstream High School, was allegedly closed down. However, the department has dismissed reports that the school closed, saying it has been converted to a “school of skills”.

According to the community, the school “closure” affected many children, with some dropping out of the system, while others got involved in drugs. It has also affected other schools in the area such as Phoenix Secondary School. The “closure” has led to overcrowding and a surge in criminal activities in the neighbourhood.

On Wednesday 26 June, irate residents staged a demonstration on Duinefontein Road in an effort to make their voices heard.

Speaking on behalf of residents, Samuel Samodien and Maria Jansen said the situation at the schools in the area is bad, classes are overcrowded.

That, according to them, is the result of the learners who were supposed to be at Silverstream High that was closed.

They allege that children have lost interest in schooling because they are just too many at school. They also attribute the increase in criminal activities such as gang violence, teenage pregnancy to that.

According to residents, the department of education closed down the school and promised to build another one which they never did.

“We were never consulted about the closure of the school, they are doing the same thing the apartheid government did of forcing us out of Bo Kaap to here,” she said.

He said they will mobilise the residents so that government can hear their plight. They do not want a situation where they keep quiet about changes that are implemented in their residential area, they said.

Jansen said they told their ward councillor and nothing was done about their unhappiness.

Director of communications for the Western Cape Education Department, Bronagh Hammond said the matter was dealt with last year.

She said there were engagements with the affected principals and community for months.

She said it was “mutually” agreed that Silverstream will not close but rather be reborn as the School of Skills (SOS) the community has been asking for.

“This shift has already been implemented at the current site and the agreed plan is to relocate this SOS to a brand new premises at the old GF Jooste site when the land it is currently on is required for the new Klipfontein Regional Hospital,” she said.

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