North West schools call off week-long shutdown

18 February 2020 - 06:00 By MOSIMA RAFAPA
Parents and pupils from five schools protested in Mogogelo village in Hammanskraal. They were frustrated about the long delay to build a new school in the area.
Parents and pupils from five schools protested in Mogogelo village in Hammanskraal. They were frustrated about the long delay to build a new school in the area.
Image: Mosima Rafapa / GroundUp

A week-long shutdown of five schools organised by the school governing body (SGB) of Machakela-Mamodibo Secondary in Mogogelo Village, Hammanskraal, has come to an end.

The shutdown was caused by a long delay, since 2015, in the building of a new high school. Machakela-Mamodibo is overcrowded, has poor infrastructure and dilapidated classrooms. Some pupils have to sit on bricks because there are not enough chairs.

GroundUp reported on Monday that the shutdown was called off after four new prefab classrooms were delivered at Machakela-Mamodibo. Teaching also resumed at Mogogelo Primary, Dikgorwaneng Primary, Boitemogelo Primary and LM Mokoena Special.

Last Monday, parents and pupils chanted outside Machakela-Mamodibo for most of the day after they instructed the circuit manager from Moretele sub-district for education, Jack Kedikilwe, to call government officials to address them.

Police fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowd and escorted Kedikilwe out of the area. He had addressed a small group of SGB members but his car was blocked from leaving by residents.

Machakela-Mamodibo SGB chairperson Elizabeth Rehlamfu said protest action continued on Tuesday. No cars were allowed to enter the village.

“On Wednesday, we were visited by government officials from the education department, infrastructure and public works. We didn’t waste any time revisiting old promises to build us a new high school. They understood and told us that on May 1, the project to build the new school will start,” said Rehlamfu.

She said the department also promised to deliver four mobile classrooms. Two prefab classrooms were delivered late on Thursday and two more on Friday afternoon.

Machakela-Mamodibo principal Mpuseng Masote said: “We will still be faced with overcrowding. The difference is just moving pupils to classrooms which are not falling apart.”

Masote said the school had ordered 60 chairs to be delivered on Monday. She said she also requested 150 chairs and 100 tables from the department, but the school would only get half that number.

Provincial education spokesperson Elias Malindi confirmed that a new school would be built. The tender will be advertised in March.

“The successful company will be introduced to the community between April and May, during the new financial year," said Malindi.

This article was originally published on GroundUp.


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