Parents vow to shut down ‘racist’ school

Parents claim Springdale Primary School in Lentegeur is racist. Picture: Brendan Magaar and Patrick Louw

Parents claim Springdale Primary School in Lentegeur is racist. Picture: Brendan Magaar and Patrick Louw

Published Jan 13, 2016

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Cape Town - Allegations of racism, victimisation, vandalism and threats of violence were rife as Cape learners prepare to start the new school year on Wednesday.

Springdale Primary School in Lentegeur got the year off to a bad start with a spate of burglaries which took place over the holidays.

Then on Tuesday, to make matters worse, outraged parents vowed to shut the school down, crying racism.

Parents claim black children from outside the area are given preference over coloured children who live close to the school.

Lionel Schroeder, a former soldier, spoke on behalf of the upset parents and says they will shut the school at 7am on Wednesday.

“We have a situation where more black children are allowed to attend and travel to the school in taxis and bakkies,” Lionel says angrily.

“We have parents who enrolled their children since 2014 and live less than four kilometres from the school, but they have to pay R3 000 a year to travel to schools outside of Lentegeur.

“I witnessed [black] parents bringing their children in bakkies and kombies to the school while we confronted the principal.

“We will shut the school down.”

The school principal was not available for comment on Wednesday.

However, police spokesman Constable Noloyiso Rwexana confirmed the school had been vandalised, but could not reveal the cost of the damages.

Nearby at Seaview Primary School in Rocklands, our team met anxious parent Sanchia Gallant, 35.

She has been battling since May 2015 to enrol her five-year-old son Matthew at the school.

Sanchia says despite making arrangements in May last year already, she was told on Tuesday she is now on a waiting list.

“My child has ADHD and he needs to be in school but I am told as I went to admissions today that he is on a waiting list,” says Sanchia.

By late Tuesday she was still unsure if Matthew would have a seat in class on Wednesday.

Also in Rocklands, at Caradale Primary, we met Patiswa Mgqamgqo, 42, who travelled all the way from Mfuleni to enrol her child.

“My child must be in Grade R,” says the frustrated mom.

“I have been on the waiting list since August and now I have been told I must wait 10 days until the Education Department gives me an answer.

“I want my child at this school because it is a good school as my older child attends there.”

Neither principals at the Rocklands schools were available for comment.

On Tuesday, Gaileen Witbooi, 40, was also praying her son would be accepted at a school after being rejected by SEVEN principals.

Gaileen says she started applying at high schools for her son Tyrese Witbooi, 14, in February last year.

Gaileen, from Cafda in Retreat, says: “Most of the schools rejected the applications because we don’t live in the same area as the school, but my son has attended Claremont Primary School which is also outside the area where we live.

“I started applying at schools in February already, as a precaution I applied at five schools.

“The only two late applications were South Peninsula High School and Muizenberg High School, at which I applied after June.”

The schools Gaileen applied at include Norman Henshillwood, Plumstead High School, Bergvliet High, Groote Schuur High and Voortrekker High School.

“I called Groote Schuur High School and they said they would put my child on their waiting list and Voortrekker High School said they’re already full,” she adds.

Gaileen says she and her husband, Karel, had spoken to department officials about getting getting Tyrese “into a good school”, but had very little luck.

By late Tuesday the department of education had not replied to Daily Voice queries regarding Gaileen’s concerns.

“All they could tell us is that we’ll have to wait for the schools to open,” says Karel.

“We want to get our son into a good school but if he is not accepted, we will have no choice but to consider a school in our area.”

Daily Voice

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