AfriForum will seek legal advice to support a community in Nkandla who have been waiting in vain for a school to be built for their children. This comes after the civil rights organization had been approached by desperate parents, seeking help. Since the start of the school year their children have not had access to education, even though they had been assured that a school would be ready at the beginning of the year.
On investigation, it has come to light that the KwaZulu-Natal education department had already approved the construction of Khuba Secondary School in 2006. The school has also already been registered, but has not been built, as had been promised in 2016.
“AfriForum has made it clear to the parents that we cannot help with the construction of a school, but we definitely can assist the community to find out why the school has not been built and to ensure that the department fulfill their promises,” says Carien Bloem, AfriForum’s project coordinator for education.
Bloem says further that a letter asking for an explanation was sent by AfriForum to the department, in response to which the latter replied (letter attached) that the community is too small to justify the building of a school. The department added that the almost 400 learners have already been registered at other schools in the vicinity. “The problem however is that even though they might be registered, these schools are not accessible to them. Some of the children are expected to walk up to 10 kilometers to reach these schools and then will be accommodated in classes already comprising more than 60 learners. It is appalling to expect this of them,” she says.
AfriForum will obtain a legal opinion on behalf of the community to determine what their options are and will then consult with them regarding future actions.
Bloem mentions that there are several ways in which this problem can be overcome, for example by erecting mobile classrooms or combining grades in a smaller school. However, it seems as if the education department has no understanding for this rural community’s unique circumstances. The parents are not receiving any support, and communication between them and the department obviously leaves much to be desired.
AfriForum is aware of the allegations that the KwaZulu-Natal education department has underspent its budget of the previous financial year, making it even more clear that the children are victims of mismanagement and short-sighted decision-making.
“In light of President Jacob Zuma’s complacent statement in his state of the nation address of 2017 regarding the progress in education in South Africa, and more specifically regarding the construction of schools, this community’s dilemma seems all the more ironic and tragic,” Bloem added.