INTERESTED PARTIES: Uitzig High School pupils outside the Western Cape High Court.
Cape Town - A battle between the community of Uitzig in Ravensmead and the provincial education department over the closure of Uitzig High School is under way in the Western Cape High Court.

The community wants the court to force the department to keep the school open after they indicated that it will close due to vandalism. Advocate Norman Arendse, who is representing the community, said: “The Western Cape Education Department is not maintaining the school.

“It is the responsibility of the education (department) to provide a safe learning environment in the area, despite the socio-economic issues.

RELATED: Uitsig school court case

“The education department must say why the school has been degraded and neglected. It must also provide electricity and water to the school. These are all the mandatory obligations which they failed to perform. “The MEC (Debbie Schäfer) has said learners at the school can go to the high schools, Ravensmead, Florida and St Andrews, but the classes at those schools are overcrowded.”

Parents of pupils from the school said there were currently 100 pupils at Uitzig High School. Diolin Pienaar, one of the pupils at the school, said due to gang violence in the area it was too dangerous to go to other schools “and our parents do not have taxi fare money for us”.

He added: “At the moment I live opposite the school and it is a very good school. I am in matric this year and soon we will be writing the final examinations.”

Schäfer previously said the school had a pupil enrolment of 94. “These numbers have dwindled in the last four years from 460 to 94. The main school building has been significantly vandalised over the years and is in a state of partial demolition due to extensive theft and continued vandalism.

“None of the original classrooms can be utilised, notwithstanding constant repairs that have been done.

“It is clear that the condition of the existing building is not conducive to continued teaching and is hazardous.

“The department will also spend approximately 36% of the budget on maintenance,” Schäfer said.

“This amount is insufficient to deal with all the maintenance needs at schools, but the department needs to retain the fine balance in the budget to continue to provide additional teaching space, while at the same time ensure that the integrity of school buildings is not compromised.”

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Cape Argus