New school faced with long list of problems

Thobeka Magcai

Thobeka Magcai

Daspoort Secondary School, west of Pretoria, opened the doors of learning to more than 500 pupils for the first time on January 14.

The newly registered school falls under the Gauteng department of education but faces major problems such as lack of electricity, security, toilets, fire extinguishers, textbooks, sports grounds and burst water pipes. The building is run-down and is plagued by squatters.

The principal Gerhard Olivier, said people living on the premises are a huge problem.

As a result the school has erected a fence "to keep the children safely in and the squatters out, as they pose a threat to the students".

"I have 500 children whose safety I cannot guarantee, and it's extremely difficult to deliver quality education," said Olivier.

We spoke to a middle-aged woman washing her laundry on the stoep outside a building that Olivier said used to be a science laboratory.

The woman, who gave her name only as Linda, told how she and her family of five came to live at the school. She said she, her husband and three children moved to the school 17 years ago when the family lost their house at Waterkloof Glen. She was ashamed to move back to Mamelodi, where she originally comes from, after suffering what she says was a misfortune.

She accused the principal of being rude by referring to her as a squatter and talking to the press.

"I am mad against him for talking about me in Beeld. I am not a squatter," she said.

The department of education has said it will send a task team to the school to assess the situation, after which it will decide on appropriate action.