Empty promises over school building

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ND tolilets6 (25957464) INLSA FURY: Parents and pupils of Quarry Heights Primary School protest yesterday over lack of service delivery. Picture: Patrick Mtolo

Teaching was disrupted at a Durban primary school yesterday when parents barricaded the entrances as they protested against the use of makeshift mobile classrooms.

Parents at Quarry Heights Primary School, near Newlands, said they were promised by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education that construction of a proper school building would start in February.

The 638 pupils at the four-year-old school are taught in mobile classrooms and forced to use pit toilets.

There are 10 mobile classrooms, for Grade R to Grade 7, a Wendy house used as a principal’s office, a standpipe used by the pupils and 19 teachers, as well as two dilapidated containers – one for a security guard paid for by the school and the other used as a kitchen.

The school also has a tent which is sometimes used as a classroom.

Police were at the school yesterday to monitor the tense situation.

“Parents are tired of empty promises. We want a real school now, not these mobile classrooms,” said the school’s governing body chairman, Bonginkosi Ndlela. Some classes had up to 90 pupils with only one teacher.

“There are building plans, but we see nothing happening.”

Parents barricaded the road leading to the school with rocks, bricks and stones.

Umlazi education district director Bheki Ntuli was at the school yesterday and tried to calm parents. He assured them that construction would take place – but could not say when.

The department had hired a contractor to build the school, Ntuli said. “Sometimes service delivery is not as fast as we expect it to be (but) it is going to happen,” he said.

A school official said classes resumed after parents were addressed by Ntuli.

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