Pupils in the dark

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kayamandi school INLSA Students from Kayamandi High School in Stellenbosch marched to Stellenbosch municipality to demand electricity. Picture: Cindy Waxa

Cape Town - Desperate pupils from a Kayamandi school that has been without electricity for the past two weeks, marched to the Stellenbosch municipal offices yesterday, demanding a solution.

Teachers at Kayamandi High School have been teaching in almost complete dark and say communication with the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has been affected as they can’t send or receive e-mails and faxes.

According to the WCED, the community adjacent to the school has attached illegal connections to the school’s electrical unit, “compromising the unit’s functionality”.

Principal Maphelo Ntshanga said one of his big concerns was that matrics had to start writing their September exams on Monday.

“The papers have not been printed. How are they going to write?”

Teacher Andrew Arnolds said some teachers had to go to shops to make copies and paid for it themselves. Pupils were also missing out on computer applications technology lessons.

Teachers said the school governing body had discussed their problem with the neighbouring community.

Yesterday pupils marched to the municipal offices where they handed over a petition to Stellenbosch executive mayor Conrad Sidego. They then marched to the local WCED offices.

Songezo Ceki, chairman of the representative council of learners, said the pupils wanted the WCED to fence the school.

“The exams are coming up and I am feeling frustrated. We sit in the dark. We can’t use the computers. The teachers can’t make copies of exemplars to help us prepare for the exams.”

Bronagh Casey, spokeswoman for Education MEC Donald Grant, said the WCED and the Department of Public Works were dealing with the issue as a matter of urgency and were at the school (Wednesday) to repair the unit.

“We expect the unit to be running as per normal by tomorrow afternoon [Thursday], the latest.”

She said the department was following the prescribed tender processes in terms of a new fence for the school.

“The WCED will ensure that learners be given the opportunity to re-do any examinations that were disrupted due to the power outages. We are working closely with the municipality and SAPS to monitor the situation.”

Sidego said the Nkanini settlement, like other informal settlements, had started out small with about 40 families. There were now about 2 500 families.

“At one stage the municipality actually had a court order to remove them on the basis that it was illegal. Over the years, as happens with informal settlements. it just developed into something that we began to accept,” Sidego said.

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Cape Argus


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