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There was a school -then there wasn't

By Alfred Moselakgomo | Jan 20, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

PUPILS at a farm school have been left stranded after a circuit manager closed it without official permission or the knowledge of their parents.

The 21 pupils attending the school arrived for lessons at Belhambra Primary School - the only school near Waterval Boven in Mpumalanga yesterday - to find that there was no furniture and educational support material.

Angry parents said yesterday that they could not believe their eyes when a bakkie came to the school and removed all the chairs, desks and stationery.

"When we asked the men why they were removing the stuff they said they were following instructions from the circuit manager, S Motloung," said Thembi Mnisi, whose child was enrolled as a Grade 2 pupil.

"They told us that Motloung ordered them to remove all that was in the school yard because the school was closing down due to the small number of pupils."

When Sowetan arrived at the school yesterday, only a handful of tiny tots were present, with their parents, who vowed to continue sending them to the farm school.

One of the school's two teachers, Irene Ndawe, said they were forced to use old desks and chairs they had collected from the village.

A concerned parent said: "The department says it wants to merge our school with another school that is more than 30km away from here - expecting our children to walk through dangerous bushes as the department are not even prepared to arrange their transport."

But provincial education department spokesperson Jasper Zwane told Sowetan that Motloung had no right to shut down the school and that his department had instructed her to immediately reverse her decision.

"Our view is that the required processes were not followed when Motloung closed the school.

"The South African Schools Act clearly states that only MEC Regina Mhaule, may, by notice in the provincial gazette, close a public school," Zwane said.

"We have already ordered Motloung to return the school furniture and stationery and to ensure that teaching and learning resume at the school without delay."


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