Woman battling to find school for brother left in limbo over unpaid fees

2020-01-22 14:45
More than 14 000 pupils in Gauteng have still not been placed in schools.

More than 14 000 pupils in Gauteng have still not been placed in schools. ((iStock))

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A local woman fears her brother is in limbo as he struggles to get placed in any school this year.

Sibusiso Miya (14) had completed Grade 8 at a city school last year but has been barred from returning because of outstanding fees.

His sister, Janine Mackay (53), has so far tried in vain to get him enrolled in any school.

The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education admitted that Sibusiso is one of many who are stranded without a place in school for this year, but said they hope to have everyone placed by the end of this week.

Meanwhile, an internal memo seen by The Witness instructed department offices to be open this past Saturday to deal with the hefty backlog.

The memo says the department will make available more teachers or graduates to schools with an inadequate number of teachers, so long as there is enough space to accommodate new teachers.

Mackay told The Witness she was paying Sibusiso’s fees last year through help from her mother, but funds had dried up leaving them with some R16 000 in unpaid fees.

“At the end of November I began looking for a new school for him. Everywhere was full. I’ve been trying this year and nowhere seems to have a place for him.”

Mackay went to the department’s offices on Monday. “There were lines of people who had a similar problem. I was told to fill in a form and they said if I don’t hear from them within a week I must come again.

“And all the while [Sibusiso] sits at home. He’s very frustrated and I’m trying to be patient. I feel like a bad guardian because of this situation.”

Department spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said MEC Kwazi Mshengu has set up a task team to deal with the backlog, and encouraged parents to go to department offices rather than individual schools if they have a placement problem. “We can give the parent a letter to give the school. We are placing pupils every day ...”

DA spokesperson on education in KZN, Dr Imran Keeka, said the party was inundated with calls about similar problems. He said pupils sometimes faced the problem of being initially accepted by a school but then not being allowed to enrol because of the admissions policy of the school itself.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  kzn education department

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