Row erupts over pupils 'kicked out' of private school hostel in Eastern Cape

The 11 boys were expelled after having refused to take orders from school management.
The 11 boys were expelled after having refused to take orders from school management.
Image: PaylessImages

A group of pupils from the Dutywa Centre of Excellence are sleeping at a local B&B after being booted out the school hostel on Wednesday.

The “eviction” of 11 boys arose from their refusal to move from their digs into another hostel building, where they claim the pupils “smoke and drink” all the time, reports SowetanLIVE's sister publication DispatchLIVE.

The private school attracts pupils from as far afield as Cape Town. 

Parent Sondile Ntanjana said he drove from Mthatha and found pupils sitting outside the school building when he arrived at midnight on Wednesday.

“My son phoned saying they were being forced out of the boarding school because they do not want to go to the new hostel. I went there with the police and we met the matron and two security guards. I asked them to allow the children to sleep the night and have a meeting on Thursday. The matron agreed.”

However, the children were ordered to vacate the school shortly after he left, Ntanjana  said.

“My son called again saying that the school director does not want them inside. I went back to the school and the children were standing in the rain. I woke the matron up and she told us that the school's director, Silence Matta, does not want the children in his school.”

He said Matta agreed to keep their belongings.

“We went to three B&Bs and none could help us because the pupils were a large number. But we eventually found two large rooms at the fourth B&B. I had to pay R130 per child.

“There is no spirit of ubuntu at the school. I did not expect the director to throw children out at night. If there are problems with children, parents are first consulted. We do not understand how they could chase children out at night like this.”

Another parent, who asked to remain anonymous, echoed these sentiments.

“I have three children at the school. They told us that the new hostel has children with behavioural problems. Some smoke and drink and our children to not want to be in a place like that.”

Mtshawuza Magambu B&B owner Enati Vutula confirmed the 11 pupils were booked at her facility.

But Matta said there was another side to the saga.

“The parents are giving the media the wrong information. Their children arrived here last week. We did not have a place to accommodate them and we put them in a building that was under renovation, with only the ceiling needing to be put up.

“It was raining and we asked the boys to move to another building and they refused. We gave them a week to move. I told security to kick them out at 5pm, and not at night as their parents claim.”

Eastern Cape education spokesperson Loyiso Pulumani said private schools fell outside the responsibility of the department.

“Their day-to-day operations are the responsibility of their board of governors. While the department monitors their compliance with regard to the minimum requirements of a school as per the law and the constitution, they are not bound by the regulations as spelled out in the South African Schools Act that determine the conduct of public schools.”