Pupils boycott classes over new school building
AT LEAST 300 pupils from Refilwe Secondary School in Klopper, outside Moutse in Limpopo, boycotted classes and demanded to be taught in a new, yet to be used building.
The new building is near their homes, while their old school - which is in disrepair - is situated 5km from their village.
The 37-year-old school has no fence, no ceilings in most of the classrooms and few have chairs and desks. Most of the windows are broken and the entire structure is surrounded by thick bushes.
While pupils lurked outside the new building, their teachers sat chatting at the old premises.
"It rained hard on Thursday evening and we could not go to school on Friday since classrooms were flooded," learners' representative council secretary Clement Molala said yesterday.
"We cannot go back to (the old) school (building) because we are tired of promises."
Limpopo education spokesman Pat Kgomo said: "We don't understand why they (pupils) are not in school. The (new) school is theirs, but incomplete. We cannot tell as to when it will be completed."
Kgomo could not say when the pupils would be moved into the new school building.
School governing body member and chairman of the school's construction steering committee, Ramatshedi Makwenga, said construction started in 2010.
"The contractors are now telling us they don't have money to finish construction," Makwenga said.
"In June there was no schooling for two weeks because there was a koma (initiation school) in the bush next to the school."
Addressing the pupils, community leader Conrad Tsiane said: "There's no need to sit outside this school. You are our children and we don't want you to ruin your future.
"Go back to school and wait for the department to hand this school over to you."
But the pupils were adamant that they would continue to camp outside the yet to be opened building.
"Those who have exams will go to the old school, but the rest of us will continue camping here," Molala said. "The department needs to understand that we are serious." - firstname.lastname@example.org