Parents ask schools to admit their kids

Mhlaba Memela

More than 20 pupils in Newcastle in northern KwaZulu-Natal have been turned away from school for not paying last year's school fees.

The schools have also refused to give them their exam results. This is illegal and the principals, if found guilty, will face tough action from the authorities.

The pupils, many of whom are orphans, were refused entry to Hlalanathi High School, Lethamoya High, Mdumiseni High and Siyamukela High in Madadeni near Newcastle.

Yesterday parents gathered at the schools to plead with the principals to release the exam results and register their children.

Nomusa Kunene, a member of the Madadeni education crisis committee, said the pupils' right to education was being violated.

"Some of the children are orphans, others have to get their parents to come and get their results," she said.

Two pupils at Phakama Higher Primary School in KwaMashu, north of Durban, were also refused permission to register.

Busi Dlamini told Sowetan that her niece did not get her 2006 results. Dlamini said the principal, Delani Madonsela, told them that the child would be registered and get her results once they had paid the fees.

"But my mother, who is the child's guardian, has no money to pay for the child's results," Dlamini said.

Lena Ngesi, a widow, said her daughter, Khethiwe, did not get her results because she had no money to pay the school.

"I'm not working and my husband died a long time ago."

The principal refused to comment, but KwaZulu-Natal Education Department spokesman, Christi Naude, said it was illegal for principals to turn pupils away.

"We urge parents to call us on our toll free number 0800-204-353."

Naude said children would not be denied education because their parents were poor.

"We will pay to help orphaned children should their guardians contact us," she said.