Creche slams city's decision to kick them out

By Time of article published Jan 16, 2008

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By Niemah Davids

A Cape Town creche has slammed the city council's decision to bar it from using a hall it has occupied for the past five years.

This week dozens of pre-school children and teachers returned to school for the new year, only to discover they were barred from entering the premises.

And on Tuesday, children and teachers sat huddled together on the pavement in Walmer Road, Parkwood, unable to gain access to the Parkwood community hall which for five years has doubled as a creche.

According to Angiela Adams, principal of Parkwood Busy Bees Educare, the school was served with eviction papers by the city council in August.

But the city said it gave the school notice at the end of 2005 of its intention to use the space for sport and recreational activities.

Adams said she had been given an instruction by a council official at the Muizenberg municipal office to find alternative premises for the school by the end of October.

But, Adams said, finding another place to run a creche was much harder than she had thought.

"I contacted every place in this area I could think of - churches and schools, but none of them was able to help us," she said.

Adams added when she contacted city officials to explain the situation, they had agreed to give the school until the end of December to find premises from which to operate.

But when that deadline loomed and they had still not found premises, she faxed the Muizenberg municipal office and explained the situation.

"I didn't hear a word. The creche closed towards the middle of December and when we returned on Monday, our locks had been replaced," she said.

Adams said both teachers and pupils were very upset.

"This is a place of learning. They can't do this.

"We didn't disobey their orders. We simply couldn't find alternative premises, and I told them that," she said.

When parents arrived on Monday to find the locks had been replaced, they were furious.

"This is not fair. What will happen to these little children now?

"Parents have to work where will they leave their children if the creche is not operating?" one parent asked.

Gert Bam, director for sports and recreation for the city, said it is untrue that the school was informed only in August 2007.

"We informed the school towards the end of 2005 and at the beginning of 2006 that the community hall can no longer be used for a creche," he said.

Bam said the city had been "more than fair" and had given the creche enough time to find alternative premises.

"August was the final notice, and when they told us they had not yet found a place, we agreed to give them till the end of December.

"In my view, that's fair," he said.

Bam said a private creche such as Parkwood Busy Bees Educare should be operated from a "private space".

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