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24-07-2013
Mother of a grade 12 pupil at Letsatsing secondary school Cynthia Masela at the school’s gate. Letsatsing is a non-fee school but the principal demands parents to pay school fees by not giving children their reports.
Picture: Tiro Ramatlhatse
466 24-07-2013 Mother of a grade 12 pupil at Letsatsing secondary school Cynthia Masela at the school’s gate. Letsatsing is a non-fee school but the principal demands parents to pay school fees by not giving children their reports. Picture: Tiro Ramatlhatse

New flyer targets no-fee school whistleblower

By NONTOBEKO MTSHALI Time of article published Aug 5, 2013

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Johannesburg - A campaign aimed at defaming Cynthia Masela, the woman who blew the whistle on a Carletonville no-fee school that was charging school fees, has intensified.

Masela is the mother of one of the pupils at Letsatsing Combined School, and spoke out against what she saw happening - and then became victimised.

She was targeted in a campaign in which flyers emblazoned with her photograph and contact details were distributed, advertising “jobs” to girls between the ages of 12 and 18 to become prostitutes.

Now another flyer campaign has surfaced - this time advertising abortion services, purportedly by Masela.

The new flyer, which also carries Masela’s picture, her home address and cellphone number, says she’s also an “expert” at helping women so that a man falls for them and doesn’t stray.

Masela, who has a Grade 9 child at the school, said she suspected the flyers had to do with her being outspoken about parents being forced to pay school fees despite the fact that it’s illegal for a no-fee school to do so.

She has opened a case of crimen injuria.

In addition to being forced to pay schools fees, parents with children at the school said that if they failed to pay up, the school withheld the children’s reports.

The school requires parents with children in Grade R to pay R150 a month. Fees for grades 1 to 12, which are paid annually, increase as the child rises up the grades, with Grade 12 parents being required to pay R960 a year for school fees.

Bongiwe Cebani, who has four children and one grandchild at the school, said she had to pay more than R3 000 in December last year for all five children to have their reports released.

In addition to this, Cebani said, one of her children wanted to take up computers as a subject and was told they had to pay R500 to use the school’s computer lab. This fee was over and above the school fees.

Masela said she also paid the R500 fee for her child.

Responding to initial reports on Letsatsing Combined School charging school fees, the Education Department said its investigation into the matter had concluded that the school was not charging school fees.

The department found that the parents had decided “to make voluntary contributions for the upkeep and maintenance of the school as well as paying for extra cleaning staff”.

But parents who spoke to The Star disputed this, claiming they had not paid voluntarily. The department said it would now also investigate the allegations of parents being charged R500 for their children to use the school’s computer lab.

The holding back of children’s reports for non-payment would also be investigated.

Department spokesman Gershwin Chuenyane said the investigation was still under way.

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The Star

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