Lesufi orders Joburg school to open its doors after 100s of pupils turned away

2016-01-13 18:23


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Johannesburg - Hundreds of children turned away from Ormonde Primary School on their first day of school must be allowed to start the new school year on Thursday, said Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi.

The school, which opened in April last year, turned away all 701 of its registered pupils at the start of the academic year because it did not have water and toilets.

Parents arrived at the school to find a note plastered on the gate and wall, telling them the gates would only be opened on January 25 when their water and sanitation issues were resolved.

Lesufi rushed to the school on Wednesday afternoon where he ordered that learners be allowed into classrooms from Thursday.

"If there is something I hate, it is to deny a child the right to education. We know schools that are conducted under a tree or under the sun, but those schools still deliver results," Lesufi said, adding that he understood the frustration and concerns of the school governing body.

"Reopen the school tomorrow, principal. The department must ensure that temporary toilets are made available tomorrow morning," he said.

Resolve sanitation issues

Since the school was opened last year, students have had to make use of portable toilets placed at both ends of the school premises.

School governing body chairperson Teddy Nair said they had tried relentlessly to get the municipality to connect their services, but their requests were denied because the school was constructed on two sites, one of which falls in a residential area.

Nair said that he had pulled out all the stops, including contacting Lesufi's office, to try and get the situation resolved. 

Lesufi said he did not know about the situation at the school, but vowed to investigate where and how the lines of communication had failed.

He was also unimpressed with the condition of the toilets at the school and agreed that the matter needed to be attended to urgently.

"We can get better mobile toilets than this... Get extra mobile toilets that are presentable. There are young children here... We cannot have a situation which is like we are at a funeral... We need to organise dignified toilets with running water," he said.

Following the meeting, Lesufi headed to the municipality offices.

Permanent solution

He said he wanted a permanent solution to the problems before the end of the week.

The situation at the Ormonde Primary School on Wednesday had spoiled what would have been a smooth start to the new school year for the Gauteng province, Lesufi said.

"This is a spoiler. I had a wonderful day to be honest," Lesufi told journalists shortly after having a meeting with the school's management and school governing body.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  education

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