Western Cape education department and ANC clash over 'school closures'

10 June 2019 - 21:02 By Nico Gous
Stock photo.
Stock photo.
Image: Gallo Images/ IStock

There was mudslinging on Monday between the ANC in the Western Cape and the provincial education department over Sonderend Primary and Silverstream High schools in Manenberg, Cape Town.

The department hit out at a statement issued by the provincial ANC on Monday evening, which claimed that it would close the two schools by bulldozing them “apartheid style to clear the land”. The ANC also claimed that “no consultation took place” and no one informed the provincial legislature of the decision.

But department spokesperson Bronagh Hammond told TimesLIVE that it was agreed with the community and school principals that Silverstream would be turned into a "school of skills" - known as a SOS.

“This shift has already been implemented at the current site and the agreed plan is to relocate this SOS to a brand new premises at the old GF Jooste [hospital] site, when the land it is currently on is required for the new Klipfontein Regional Hospital,” Hammond said.

“There is also no plan to close Sonderend Primary School and as per community suggestions it too is to be relocated to a brand new building, in an enlarged premises, in due course.”

The ANC's shadow MEC for education in the Western Cape legislature, Khalid Sayed, claimed the land the schools are built on will make way for a new regional hospital.

“It is well known that proper education is the only way to counter poverty and gangsterism. The ANC is not against the provision of a hospital, but surely cannot condone community schools being flattened,” Sayed said.

Hammond said the decision was made with input from the community, teachers and the City of Cape Town.

“It also forms part of the Community Action Plan signed off by the mayor, the premier and the democratically elected community representative forum and has thus been public knowledge for months already.”