Deputy director-general of Human Resources and Communication at the Department of Education, advocate Bheki Masuku, with Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu at Sivananda Technical School in KwaMashu yesterday. Bongani Mbatha African News Agency (ANA)
Durban - As teachers prepare for the first day of school on Wednesday, Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu yesterday urged municipalities to assist the department with tackling illegal water and electricity connections at some of its schools by communities.

Mshengu said the department was also planning to engage with the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs on this matter.

“Illegal connections are a problem. Schools closed in early December but some schools find themselves with a high electricity bill for December. We will engage municipalities around the billing system and rates for schools. Schools fall under the department, but they are being billed like businesses,” said Mshengu.

In March last year the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union revealed that Durban schools were battling to pay high electricity bills, with three schools - Umlazi Comtech, Sivananda Technical School and Adams College - collectively owing eThekwini municipality over R11million.

Adams College owed R4.6m, Umlazi Comtech owed R4m while Sivananda Technical school owed R3m.

Mshengu said the department had managed to pay half of this debt so far.

The MEC briefed the media at Sivananda Technical School in KwaMashu yesterday on the department’s readiness for the new school year. Mshengu said mobile classrooms had been sent to the 147 schools that were damaged by storms to be used in the interim, as it would cost R480m to rebuild these damaged schools.

“Each school was allocated the same number of mobile classrooms as those that had been destroyed by the storm,” said Mshengu.

He said all 86000 teachers were expected to be on time at the 6000 school facilities in the province for the anticipated influx of 2.8 million pupils.

The MEC was confident that there would be no glitches regarding the admission of pupils at any KZN school.

“We have established a help desk to help pupils and parents. There will be no crisis on admission. We also expect all parents to accompany their children to school tomorrow as they are expected to sign a code of conduct. This code of conduct signing is to bind the parent and pupil so that they ensure good behaviour,” he said.

Mshengu said a rise in violence in schools as well as the abuse of drugs was experienced last year.

“The code of conduct contract is also for parents to know what behaviour is expected of their children.”

He said learning and teaching material had been delivered to all public and special education needs schools as well as for Grade R.

Daily News