Cape Town – Milnerton Primary School has come under fire from a parent who said their aftercare policy was unfair and should be changed.
The school removed Nathi Fokazi’s 10-year-old daughter from aftercare and she will not be able to use the service for the rest of her primary school years.
The decision by the school is as a result of the school’s policy, which Fokazi said only allowed parents to be late three times a year to collect their child.
Fokazi said he had fetched his daughter late six times, and on all occasions it wasn’t by more than a few minutes late.
Fokazi said he was worried that his daughter would now have to use public transport on her own, and be at home alone until the late afternoon.
“It’s scary, a 10-year-old girl travelling alone, especially given the vulnerability of girl children. All the kidnappings that target school kids.
“Aftercares that are around in the area are more expensive, the cheapest is three times more than what we pay, as they also include transport from the school,” he said.
He said the school was quick to bend the policy when it suited them, and enforced it when it played in their favour.
“It is not supportive of the environment that they want to have, they say that they want to create a safe environment for children.
“This is a policy that needs to be changed and they also know that it is unfair for parents to be punished twice.
“First you pay a fine and then you get kicked out, for the rest of the child’s school career,” Fokazi said.
He explained that according to the policy, you had to pay a fine of R10 per minute when you are late to collect your child.
“On all the occasions we were late, which was six times in a year, we were five minutes late. The latest we were was maybe six minutes.”
The school referred the Cape Times to the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) for comment, but in a communiqué with Fokazi, which the Cape Times has seen, principal Warick Middleton said the school’s aftercare policy was clear, and they would not be able to reinstate his daughter’s aftercare arrangement.
“(This) will set a precedent which makes the policy agreement obsolete. We are thus unable to consider a readmission to aftercare.
“Should you require the contact details of private aftercare facilities used by our parents, then our receptionist may be able to assist,” the communiqué read.
WCED spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said school governing bodies were responsible for after-school activities such as aftercare.
“In this particular school the school administers the aftercare,” Hammond said.
Gender-based violence advocacy group Ilitha Labantu’s spokesperson Siyabulela Monakali said with all the horrible things happening in the country, the school and parents needed to work together.
“The school and the parents need to come to a consensus on how they can deal with the situation because the child’s safety is the main priority.
“Where parents have differences and the school has its policies, they need to come together and be there for the well-being of the child.
“If something happened to the child they could be liable as they could have done something.”