Durban — While many pupils, parents, and teachers celebrated matric results across the province, the community of KwaNyuswa could not.
Sbusisiwe Myeni, social entrepreneur, rural child education activist and founder of the Imbeleko Foundation, said that they could not celebrate with matriculants from the area because of power outages and road closure by the community.
“On this day, every year when matric results are released, we celebrate the hard work and academic achievements and excellence of a rural child of KwaNyuswa. Yesterday, we could not and we were unable to share the amazing stories we always tell about our matriculants,” she said.
“After the community had been grappling with no water for months, they also had no electricity for six days until they took to the streets to protest. We can’t talk about water – we haven’t had any for months. We have been having daily electricity blackouts for weeks, but this week, we have had no electricity for six days now.
“We are going through the worst. The community has taken to the streets and shut down the main road, Manqoba Road, for hours,” she said.
She said that as a result of the road closure, no battery on phones and unstable network, matriculants can’t share their results with the foundation’s team that provides pre-university support.
“We run a digital academy that benefits learners from 13 primary and high schools and these challenges are diminishing our efforts and taking away resources that benefit the kids in supplementing their education,” said Myeni.
“We also run a blended school in partnership with UCT Online High School; we have not been able to function as we have no online connectivity. Fifty-five Grade 8 to 10 learners couldn’t complete their orientation and kick off term one,” she said.
She also said that there had been no communication from the eThekwini Municipality for the whole week, or no evidence of any attempts to address the problem until the community decided to barricade the road and protest on Friday morning.
“The roads were closed around 10am and police were on site around midday, but eThekwini only arrived after 7pm with police escort. The community stood their ground and only left when power was back on around midnight,” said Myeni.
Myeni said that this is not a one-off event and that they go through power outages two or three times a week.
“We have not had water since the floods and rely on water tanker deliveries to run our academy – for 55 full-time kids and over 200 that attend our after-school programme.
“All this seems deliberate. The electricity cables are cut off weekly and water switched off deliberately,” she said.
eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Gugu Sisilana said relevant officials in the municipality would engage with the ward councillor regarding service delivery issues in KwaNyuswa so that they could be addressed in a structured and co-ordinated manner.
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