Let's put the children first, Mr MEC

Children have a right to education, the conditions they are learning under at Paradise are unfavourable, the writer says.
Children have a right to education, the conditions they are learning under at Paradise are unfavourable, the writer says.
Image: Thulani Mbele

Why must pupils suffer because of a standoff between the department of education and their community?

About 1,500 children are attending a vandalised school without electricity and water, as the department and their community fight over operational issues.

On Sunday, education MEC Panyaza Lesufi tweeted pictures of a wrecked Paradise Bend Primary School in Diepsloot and said he was not going to fix it.

It was not clear then why he had declared publicly he was not going to fix the school.

Yesterday, he told Sowetan that the school leadership and community members had chased away the principal after accusing him of mismanaging funds.

"The principal was chased way several times after he tried returning to the school. You cannot fire someone you did not appoint," said Lesufi. He said the community deliberately keeps vandalising the school to sabotage the department and to "get our reaction".

However, teachers, school governing body and residents told the newspaper the school was vandalised by criminals because it has no security.

They said furniture was stolen and cables and pipes were stripped during the break-ins in October and December.

Sowetan visited the school yesterday and saw children exposed to electric cables popping up from the ground and overgrown grass. Pupils could not even use toilets as they have been locked because there was no water.

Pupils were no longer being served meals, SGB said this was because the stove and cooking utensils were stolen during the burglaries.

We do not know what happened here but why must children suffer because of adults' disagreement?

Children have a right to education, the conditions they are learning under at Paradise are unfavourable. How are they expected to perform well in class with empty stomachs?

The fight the department is embroiled in with the community is childish.

The MEC vowing not to fix the school is not helping either. We call on him to go to this community and find a way forward that is in the interest of the children.

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

X