The African National Congress Dullah Omar Region has vowed to support the angry parents who burnt tyres on Baden Powell Drive in Khayelitsha on Monday morning demanding that Education MEC Donald Grant address their concerns over schooling.
The protest by parents from Zwelitsha and Nkanini informal settlements came after weeks of tension between parents and Western Cape Education Department (WCED).
The parents are demanding that temporary classrooms be built in Zwelitsha, claiming claim the WCED made a promise in 2010 to provide a primary school in the area.
The WCED, however, has said plans for a primary school in Zwelitsha are include in their 2013 – 2015 plans.
Chairperson of ANC-held Ward 95 steering committee, Kuthula Mamba and ANC Youth League regional committee member Loyiso Nkohla told the group of parents they will support their protest until the WCED established a school for their children.
Nkohla said this was an issue of education, not politics.
As a result of the protest, Baden Powell Drive was closed near the Swartlip Road yesterday morning.
Community leader Nolizwi Ngcana said there was a need for a school in Zwelitsha as a number of children from the informal settlement were unable to be placed in other schools and were “sitting at home doing nothing”.
As a result, the community had established an informal school in a small church hall which was being attended by over 100 children being taught Grades 1 – 5 by volunteers and parents.
Yesterday’s protest came after parents marched on the provincial legislature two weeks ago to hand over a memorandum. To the WCED and WCED officials were locked into a school hall on January 17 when the officials held a meeting at Siphamandla High to listen to parents’ complaints.
Ngcana said they had up to 490 pupils from Zwelitsha and Nkanini who needed a school.
Mamba said the ANC supported the parents’ demands.
“We say enough is enough, how can people wait for ten years without a school. If parents want a school the department must provide the school, all doors of learning must be open for all,” he said
Nkohla said the residents would protest until Grant came to listen to them.
“Parents want school and the department must give it to them. If not, we are prepared for anything, police can arrest us,” said Nkohla.
Comment from the WCED was not forthcoming before going to press. — Nombulelo Damba