By Craig McKune

A group of Khayelitsha high school pupils have taken the future of their schools into their own hands and pressured the provincial Education Department into spending on much needed maintenance.

As a starting point, the pupils lobbied for the 500 broken windows of Luhlaza High School to be fixed at an estimated cost of R17 000. Not only did the department agree, but promised to spend R671 000 on general maintenance.

The pupils are part of the Equal Education coalition, which held a public rally in October to highlight the parlous state of school infrastructure in Khayelitsha.

One pupil, Nokubonga Ralayo, said the windows remained broken for almost four years. "It's very bad because it's affecting learners and teachers very badly in terms of their concentration."

"What is important is that we are a group of students from different schools pushing the issue of broken windows for Luhlaza," said Lwando Nzandisi, another pupil.

He said that when the pupils met Western Cape Education MEC Yousuf Gabru over a month ago, promises were made to fix the windows. Having heard nothing since then, they called Thursday's meeting to demand a timeline of action.

Equal Education co-ordinator Doron Isaacs said the coalition and the school had planned to put R10 000 toward the windows and were asking for R7 000 from the department.

Equal Education would be taking the MEC's words "in good faith, but we are going to hold them to it".

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