DA shocked to find school closed on third day of new academic year
17 January 2020
The Democratic Alliance (DA) North West Spokesperson on Education, Gavin Edwards joined by DA Provincial Leader, Joe McGluwa, DA North West Chief Whip, Freddy Sonakile and Councillor Linda Taljaard, conducted an oversight inspection at the Mamoratwa Combined School near Ottosdal.
This farm school, designed to accommodate 700 learners, has been earmarked for an oversight inspection by the North West Provincial Legislature for today.
Upon our arrival, we were shocked to find the school gates open, with no school principal, teachers or learners in sight. Instead, angry parents gathered outside the school (see picture here), informed us that buses arrived yesterday to transport learners to a school in Delareyville.
Parents allege that these arrangements have been made without their consent and engagement- this after the MEC assured parents that the school will be opening for this academic year.
We were surprised to find school books and stationary earmarked for learners stacked in one classroom. The fact that learners are being transported to Delareyville at an extra cost while their books are here, indicates that no teaching and learning has been taking place. This not only affects the quality of learning, but also reeks of a money-making scheme.
We further found old computers dumped outside the building, which is in contravention with the disposal policy of unused assets. These assets could have been donated to the surrounding farming community.
Among others, 7-year-old learners walk up to 8km to their homes after being dropped off next to the road at 18h00, whilst some are no longer interested in attending school.
What makes matters worse, is the presence of a contractor on site renovating pit toilets and constructing an ablution block (see pictures here, here and here) to the tune of R5 million (see appointment letter here and here) for a school that has been closed.
The DA will, through the instrument to monitor school readiness form, recommend the following:
That the school must be re-opened without any further delay;
That the MEC for Education, Wendy Matsemela, give reasons as to why the school is closed and why the Department has failed to honour their oversight appointment to the school;
The Premier of the North West must investigate this poor decision by the departments and the lack of planning and urgently account to the parents affected.
We will further submit written questions to the MEC requesting the costs of the replacement of pit toilets, construction of additional ablution block, as well as the procurement of additional transport costs.
It is not acceptable that learners’ futures are jeopardised by the Department’s poor decision-making. The DA will continue its fight to ensure that each learner in this province has an equal opportunity to quality education.
Issued by Gavin Edwards, DA North West Spokesperson on Education, 17 January 2020