No fees policy hurting our school, says parent

AN uMthatha school in Eastern Cape is malfunctioning because of a "bungle by the department of education with its no school fees programme".

Parents at Waterfall Primary School said things fell apart when the department said they had to stop paying school fees.

David Kutu, chairperson of the school's governing body, said: "We have no money to run activities. When we ask for money from parents, they go ballistic because the government had told them they had nothing to worry about because of the department's 'no school fees' policy."

Kutu said they used to pay their creditors and other necessities with the school fees collected from pupils, "but now everything had come to a standstill".

"This has had a devastating effect on our school because we cannot pay our creditors or service our loans. We are desperate to fix this crisis," Kutu said.

He said the school owed, among others, the security guard and people who cook for the children.

A teacher who refused to be named said he used his car for school requirements and to collect firewood to cooked the children's food. He said he never got paid for his car and petrol.

"There is no gas to cook. We collect wood from a nearby bush to cook the children's food," he said.

One of the school's cooks, who refused to be named for fear of being victimised, said her last salary was paid last year.

Department of education spokesperson Loyiso Pulumani blamed the teachers for the school's problems.

"The teachers failed to submit properly completed 1401 entity forms in time.

"I have explained the importance of this process several times on radio but they fail to comply. That is what their problems stem from," Pulumani said.