No school yet for children of xenophobic violence

Anna Majavu

Anna Majavu

Cape Town's young victims of xenophobic violence missed the beginning of the school term this week because they had no transport from their remote camps.

Camp leaders said the provincial government had promised to provide transport for the children, but nothing has been forthcoming.

The provincial government said yesterday that it was later decided not to provide transport, but the camp leaders said they had not been told of the decision.

Hildegard Fast, head of disaster risk management, said temporary teachers would be deployed to the camps to teach the children. But he could not say when.

"It is difficult to say when the teachers will start," said Paddy Attwell, education department spokesman.

"Everything involves a process and we are currently appointing teachers," Attwell said.

More than 100 children in Cape Town's five camps for displaced foreigners have not been to school for almost two months.

Orbert Gwasira from Zimbabwe is a leader at the Silverstroom camp in Atlantis, which is about 55km from Cape Town.

"There are only 10 pupils here. We asked long ago for a taxi to take them to school. Nothing has been done and children are running around in the cold weather all day," Gwasira said.

Attwell said that one teaching assistant would probably be appointed for the children at Silverstroom camp.

Gilad Isaacs of the Treatment Action Campaign, which has been providing relief to refugees, said it was a step forward to have teachers.

"But it is not supportive of reintegration. It would be much better for pupils to go back to schools in their communities if they are going to be reintegrated anyway."

Fast admitted that reintegrating foreign nationals was proving to be a problem.

"Reintegration is going far slower than we had hoped and the camps will now remain open until September 3," Fast said.