Funds protest shuts Limpopo school

20 September 2016 - 15:53 By Zoë Mahopo

Angry parents blocked the entrance to the Munnik Primary School in GaSekgopo Village in Limpopo with burning tyres and tree branches on Tuesday.Pupils and teachers were prevented from entering the School yard amid calls for the School Governing Body (SGB) to step down.The parents are blaming the SGB for the School's financial problems which apparently led to its account being closed last year.One of the parents at the school Mapula Maake said problems at the school worsened when the school's account was closed by the provincial department sometime last year.The group made up mostly of women were singing while carrying sign boards that said "SGB Must Fall". Some were threatening to burn down the school which is situated on the same street where a satellite police station was torched over a week ago during protests.Maake said said the school had gone for months without receiving funds which led to their water and electricity being cut off while workers‚ including security guards‚ went unpaid. She said the SGB failed to address their issues‚ adding that the school's account was only restored recently after parents took the initiative to approach the department.Maake said they also wanted the SGB to explain funds that could not be accounted for in the school's records. "[The SGB] are here to relax. They have failed to do their work so they must step down‚" she said‚ adding that the school would remain closed until the body was removed. SGB chairwoman Maleho Mohale said there was no proof that they were behind the school's financial woes. Mohale said the department closed the account last year after they received a bad audit reflecting that some funds could not be accounted for."Upon seeing the audit report‚ the provincial department was concerned that school funds were being mismanaged. They closed the account‚" she said.Mohale said the SGB would only step down after certain process had been followed and they received an instruction from the head of department. Spokesman at the provincial department Dr Naledzani Rasila confirmed that the school's financial affairs were being investigated.Rasila said parents were summoned to the school in order to start a process of removing the constitutionally elected SGB as required by law‚ however they did not comply. He said the district office had invited them for another meeting to be held on 25 September to discuss the issues. - TMG Digital/Sowetan

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