Parents protested on Baden Powell Drive on Monday. They are demanding a mobile school in the area for their children. Picture: Henk Kruger

Cape Town - Education MEC Donald Grant has laid a formal complaint with the police against a Khayelitsha school that he says is operating illegally.

Last week, the Cape Argus reported that more than 80 children were attending the one-roomed school in Zwelitsha, where they are being taught by volunteer teachers.

Some of the parents said at the time that they had tried to enrol their children in other schools in Khayelitsha, but those they had approached were full.

During a protest on Baden Powell Drive on Monday morning, protesters burnt tyres and demanded the department set up mobile classrooms in the area. Protests were expected to continue today.

At a press conference on Monday, Grant said he had laid a complaint at the Harare police station.

“I have informed them that this particular site is operating in contravention of the law. It is now time for the police to take over and ensure that the community members that are operating this site face the law.”

Grant said the school was illegal in terms of the SA Schools Act.

“The Western Cape Education Department has not received an application for the registration of an independent school at this site and I have not as minister, established as per law, a new school in the area.”

Grant said the department had a list of 138 pupils who needed placement and these children had already been matched with specific schools and grades. He said two registration periods were held, but parents had ignored the department’s offers of placement.

He said it was clear that the people “running this operation” had their own interests at heart.

Police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk said the matter was being investigated. The school was still operating on Monday.

Lulamile Jaca, deputy chairman of the local ward development forum, said he was aware of Grant’s complaint to the police and said a case should be opened against a specific person.

He said the community wanted mobile classrooms, but the department did not want to agree to this.

Jaca questioned how places had suddenly become available in Khayelitsha schools when parents who had tried to enrol their children were told that there were no places for them. “We are not going to stop until the national government intervenes,” he said.

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Cape Argus