Pupils and teachers at Hlalelani Primary School are to stay out of class in protest after a part of the school’s roof collapsed on two of their pupils. The students from the collapsed school were joined in their protest as a sign of solidarity by neighboring Waterval High School students who also stayed away from class for a day last week.
Parents of the students are also hoping to organize parents of nearby schools to participate in a mass stay away campaign to protest on the bad conditions of schools in the province.
This is the second report this year about a school that should be shut down unless infrastructural concerns are addressed. These reports are championed by the Limpopo Department of Health.
Gogo Johana Mudau was at her work place when she received a phone call, that her young granddaughter has been rushed to Elim Hospital in Makhado as a result of injuries suffered from the collapse of a section of the Hlalelani Primary School’s ceiling.
Mudau said her granddaughter was one of the two students who were injured in the classroom accident and the little girl was discharged from the Hospital after health workers stitched her minor cuts.
Agitated parents have transferred their children to another school following the collapse. According to the parents, they complained about the condition of the school about ten years ago after the 2005 storm.
“This school is dilapidated and outdated,” said school governing body secretary Tshilidzi Mulaudzi who alleged that a lot of students have been injured due to poor conditions.
“We have been appealing to the government to renovate these buildings since 2005, but it seems like our pleas always fell on deaf ears.
“The school has got 20 classrooms, but only five of them are in a usable condition, Mulaudzi added. The rest are completely damaged.
“The government seems not to care hence we have decided to remove our children from the school until something is done to improve the situation,” said Tshilidzi Mulaudzi.
Attempts are being made by Hlalelani Primary School to convince parents of other area schools to join in a school boycott until the Limpopo Department of Education takes care of the conditions in schools.
“We are going to mobilize other nearby schools to join us in this struggle, Mulaudzi said. Maybe if we close all the school in the area the department of education will do something to improve our situation.”
Limpopo Department of Education Spokesperson, Dr. Naledzani Rasila commented that the department is well aware of the school’s bad condition cannot do anything to help for now due to budget constraints.
“The department is aware of the problems at Hlalelani primary, but we have to follow all the right procedures,” she said. “The problem is that we have so many schools in the province who have the same problem as Hlalelani, but our budget cannot allow us to renovate all the school at once.”
Meanwhile, the Principal of Hlalelani Primary School refused to comment on the issue.