SCHOOL heads in Limpopo spent time in a queue to make payments at the BaPhalaborwa municipality offices on Wednesday after the council had stopped water supply to schools that have not paid their bills for the past five years.
During a visit to the municipality at 8am on Wednesday, Sowetan was greeted by principals from Namakgale and Lulekani queueing to settle water debts. A total of 19 schools managed to pay on Wednesday, while the remaining five paid yesterday.
The schools were owing the municipality R4,8 million.
One of the principals, whose school is classified in quintile 4 of the richest community, said the department gave them R55000 in July and another R55000 in October. However, he said the money was a drop in the ocean compared to the school's daily needs.
Another principal who asked to remain anonymoussaid he was tipped by one of the officials from the provincial education department that schools that sent children home would be punished, so he decided to take the last money and pay the account.
The latest developments have brought relief to about 24000 pupils from 24 schools after their preparations for the exams were interrupted for about nine days.
Sewela Motloutsi, the mother of a Grade 11 pupil at Vuxeni High School, could not hide her happiness after the taps were opened at the school. "This shows that the municipality has come back to its senses and acted in the interest of the community."