Parents cancel classes until filthy school is cleaned up

Mkhuseli Sizani

Schools are supposed to be safe places for children.

But parents at the Alfonso Arries Primary School in Booysens Park, Nelson Mandela Bay, say their school is so filthy that they won’t allow their children back unless something is done. 

“Out of the 54 toilets only two are working and the rest are full of maggots,” parent, Ncediswa Memani told Scrolla.Africa.

“Bringing our children here is like taking them to a dumpsite. Both inside and outside the school is filthy. We can’t let our children study at this rotten school. We will close it until the department fixes it.”

On Monday morning the parents sent 1,500 learners home and burnt tyres outside the school, demanding to see the school maintenance budget.

The prefab school building was built in 2012 as a temporary measure. Most of the residents were relocated here from wetlands around Nelson Mandela Bay.

Luyanda Jonas, SGB chairperson said a maintenance budget of R521,000 was approved for 2019 and in 2020 another R480,000 was approved. 

“But that money has not been released by the District Office.” 

Jonas said they have 48 classrooms and 11 of them are completely unserviceable and the floors are damaged. 

“We have no electricity and the two toilets shared by the learners are leaking.”

Vuyiseka Mboxela, spokesperson of Education MEC Fundile Gade, said the school leadership with the principal at the helm should find out why the money was withheld if that is in fact the case. 

“The principal has a direct line to his Circuit Manager and District Director. 

“There is no school that can be prejudiced by the Department especially in this environment of Covid-19,” she said.

“The Department is doing everything possible to redirect funds for the provision of an environment conducive to learning. We are available to solve any deadlock situation the school may be facing.”

She said the principal must call her on 071 713 2222.