NEW SCHOOL STILL EMPTY: THE HERALD

DA spokesman on education, Edmund van Vuuren, said the department should not have created expectation that the school would be opened mid-year.

THE predominantly poor community of a newly built RDP settlement in the northern areas may have to wait until next year before the completed primary school officially opens its gates to pupils.

The mostly unemployed parents of primary school pupils – most of whom travel many kilometres to get to school – have been waiting for months to be able to finally register their children at the school, to be named Chatty Primary School.

Construction at the school was completed last month and the school was to open on Monday in time for the second half of the academic year, but that now seems unlikely.

There are 23 classrooms to accommodate about 920 pupils and there are enough toilet facilities, but there is not yet water and electricity.

Officials at the Eastern Cape Department of Education said their part was done and it was now up to the district office to fill the school with pupils and staff as well add the finishing touches.

Department spokesperson Loyiso Pulumani said the district had identified a need for the school a few years ago and the department had worked with the Public Works Department to deliver the school.

“The school is complete and we are just waiting for the district office to locate teachers for the school and populate it,” he said.

Numerous attempts to get comment from the district office yesterday were unsuccessful.

The school was initially meant to be open in April, but that was postponed to July, in time for the reopening on Monday.

The parents of young children were yesterday complaining they forked out too much money on transport, “especially when there is a school right on our doorstep”.

Thembakazi Jonashe, 35, said she paid R200 a month for her grade six daughter’s transport to Kwa-Noxolo Primary School on top of the R70 she payed for fees.

“I really thought that by now I’d have some relief because we were told that the school would be open by now,” she said.

“It’s just sitting there like a piece of meat as we stare at it hungrily every day and all the grant money goes towards my daughter’s schooling.” Unemployed mother, Fundiswa Kate, 27, said she had had to remove her 10-year-old son from Greenville Primary School in March last year because she could not afford transport to get him to school.

“I’m really desperate for this school to open so that my son can attend school again and possibly catch up on learning instead of loitering around all day,” she said.

DA spokesman on education, Edmund van Vuuren, said the department should not have created expectation that the school would be opened mid-year.

“This is all due to improper planning because it does not make sense to open a school in the middle of the year as there still needs to be the appointment of teachers and furniture must be bought,” he said.