School on the horizon

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Phakamane Blayi- done Phakamane Blayi, 14, is not at school as his mother doesnt have an ID. Picture: Henk Kruger

Cape Town - A 14-year-old boy who has not been to school is one step closer to his first day in a classroom.

Phakamane Blayi, of Wallacedene, has been spending his days at home or visiting neighbours while his siblings go to school.

Earlier this month the Cape Argus reported that his mother, Nophelo Blayi, blamed it on lack of documentation.

She doesn’t have an ID and her children don’t have birth certificates.

Her other children attend schools without the documents, but she said Phakamane had meningitis as a baby and would need to attend a school for children with special needs.

Blayi said she had previously tried to enrol him in such a school, but could not do so without an ID.

The family said they had not contacted the Western Cape Education Department for help, but social workers had visited their home and knew of Phakamane’s case.

Bronagh Casey, spokeswoman for Education MEC Donald Grant, said the department had visited Phakamane and his mother twice since the matter was reported to them.

“We are 100 percent committed to supporting him,” said Casey.

She said Phakamane had mental and physical disabilities and his mother had been asked to obtain his medical records from Tygerberg Hospital.

This would help the department to assess the appropriate school for Phakamane to go to.

“Our officials are also assisting the family in getting some kind of identification for the mother and child.

“Our psychologist, social worker and the circuit team manager are working on the way forward in terms of placement. It is most likely that he will be placed at a centre for intellectually and cerebrally disabled learners.”

Casey said officials were investigating the nearest, most suitable centre and were also looking at transport options.

Nophelo Blayi said she had tried to obtain a letter, but had been unable to get it from Tygerberg Hospital as the records were from too long ago.

She had been referred to another hospital, which she would visit on Monday.

“I would feel happy if Phakamane went to school. I have been very worried about his safety during the day when I go to work. I didn’t feel comfortable leaving him at home.”

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Cape Argus


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