Daily News / 11 January 2019, 11:00am / BONGANI HANS
PARENTS at Esiqongweni High School in Pietermaritzburg yesterday said that President Cyril Ramaphosa had given them hope that their children would enjoy better resources at the school.
Ramaphosa, in his address to the pupils, had promised them that their school would be equipped with a computer centre, a science laboratory and a library within two months.
Despite its disadvantages, the school has attained a matric pass rate above 80% since 2015.
Ramaphosa also invited the pupils to join his Presidential Reading Club, which was still to be established.
Parent Ivy Dlamini said she was impressed with Ramaphosa’s pledge to improve the school, which had in recent years suffered vandalism and the theft of desks and electrical appliances.
“We spend a lot of money to transport our children to better schools in town so they can have access to computers.
“We are very grateful for his undertaking and hope that the promises will be kept,” she said.
Dlamini said the school’s security had been upgraded since last year and it was now protected from criminals.
She also wanted the government to rebuild her low-cost house, which was among many in the area that were dilapidated because of poor workmanship.
Dumazile Ngubane, who had arrived at the school looking for a space for her son in Grade 8, was surprised to see a convoy of black cars with blue lights entering the premises.
“I was even more surprised to see the president right here in our school,” said Ngubane.
Impressed with Ramaphosa’s promise of a science laboratory, Grade 12 science teacher Bhekani Mkhulisi said the lab would enable him to teach with practical experiments.
“The pupils have had to imagine what I was trying to teach them, which affected their performance in my subject during exams.
“Once we get the lab, the results will improve. We do have pupils who obtain a bachelor’s pass, but getting distinctions is still a serious challenge.
Ramaphosa later addressed the Pietermaritzburg community at Harry Gwala Stadium about the importance of voting for the ANC.
Hoosen Khan, 63, said he would vote for the ANC because he trusted Ramaphosa to fight corruption.
“Once he gets rid of corruption, the ANC will return to what it was original ly, but he is doing a fantastic job so far.
“I am giving him all the credit because he is working very hard to fight corruption,” said Khan.
He said Manor Flats, where he lived, was besieged by crime and there was a lack of service delivery.
Another resident, Collen Rajah, 36, said he had been worried about the ANC’s failure to deliver on its promises.
“Young people need jobs, and they need to be rehabilitated from drugs. But I know that under Ramaphosa the government is going to change a lot of things. The way he talks you can see that he is committed to change,” said Rajah.
Ramaphosa told the community that the ANC would change their lives for the better because “the ANC is prepared to confront those challenges - we are not afraid”.
“We are people of great courage, and we are saying in the next elections give us the strength to run this country again.”
ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Sihle Zikalala told the community that his party would facilitate their ownership of the council flats which they had rented for years.
This week, ANC leaders such as Ramaphosa, Ace Magashule and David Mabuza have been on the campaign trail in KwaZulu-Natal, trying to woo voters in a province that is widely perceived as being pro-former president Jacob Zuma.