AfriForum fights in court to compel KZN government to build school for Nkungumathe community in Nkandla

The court case in which AfriForum’s legal team acts on behalf of the Mpungose traditional council and the Nkungumathe community to compel the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education to build a school for the community was heard today in the Pietermaritzburg High Court. Judgement was reserved.

According to AfriForum, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education promised the Nkungumathe community in least ten instances to build a school in their community in the Nkandla district. The Department decided unilaterally and without liaising with the community to breaks its promise and to no longer build a school. Die Mpungose traditional council and the Nkungumathe community heard in February 2017 that the school would no longer be built and therefore decided to approach AfriForum. AfriForum’s court case aims to set aside the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education’s decision not to build the school and compel them to build the school that they promised to the Nkungumathe community.

According to Carien Bloem, Project Coordinator for Education at AfriForum, the need for a new school is confirmed by the fact that there are currently about 65 learners per class in the surrounding schools. This is much more than the national norm of 40 learners per class. Bloem points out that the situation is exacerbated by the fact that some of the children from the Nkungumathe community must walk about 15 km to reach the school. The existing schools also do not have sufficient textbooks and school desks to accommodate all the children.

Kallie Kriel, CEO of AfriForum, says that AfriForum has already helped many an Afrikaans school with legal aid to protect mother-tongue education, and he believes that the rights of the children in the Nkungumathe community in Nkandla should be protected in the same manner. “It is a disgrace that the State was prepared to spend millions of rand on the home of former President Jacob Zuma in Nkandla, yet children in the same district have to suffer because they have no access to a school. AfriForum will unashamedly fight this injustice,” Kriel says.

According to Kriel, AfriForum’s support of the Nkungumathe community is a continuation of the civil rights organisation’s viewpoint that healthy cooperation based on mutual recognition and respect between South Africa’s various communities should be promoted. “AfriForum’s cooperation with the Nkungumathe community stems from the same spirit as the proposed cooperation between AfriForum and King Goodwill Zwelithini,” Kriel says.

Fikile Magubane, a parent and member of the Nkungumathe community’s task team which was established to obtain a school, says that she feels strongly that her child must have access to quality education and that the building of a school will ensure this. Magubane says that she and her community is grateful to cooperate with AfriForum based on mutual recognition and respect, and to the benefit of the community’s children.

See video by Forum Nuus:

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