Parents protest over lack of boarding for their kids

THERE was drama at Pfunanani Special School in Giyani, Limpopo, on Wednesday when more than 300 parents of disabled children staged a sit-in at the school premises - demanding accommodation for their children.

This was after the children were refused admission to the school because there was insufficient space.

The angry parents said they were told each year that accommodation would be made available for their children.

Sydwell Mabunda, who works for the provincial department of sports, arts and culture, said he had been unable to get accommodation for his child for three years in a row.

"It seems our children are not being regarded as children.

"In Polokwane there are many schools of this type, but in Mopani our children are being taken for granted."

Another parent, Maurice Hlabangwani, of Mahonisi village, said for four years his disabled child had had to stay at home.

"My son is growing up. He is now 11 and the government is still not taking our plight seriously."

A parent from Tzaneen, who did not want to be identified, said: "Some of the children end up being vulnerable to rape and abuse because they just stay at home and donothing."

After the parents threatened to sleep on the school premises the department's Rapule Matsane, who deals with infrastructure, spoke to them.

He asked them to give the department until February 22 to come up with a solution to their problem.

But the parents refused, saying they had received promises each year without any relief.

The chairperson of the school governing body at the school, Violet Masinge, said the government had promised the school more classrooms for years but it had failed to fulfil its promises.