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News - Date: 08 August 2019
Written by: Kaizer Nengovhela / Viewed: 1211
Residents of the Elim area and the pupils of the Rivoni School for the Blind blocked entrances and exits to the mall and other areas as part of a total shutdown on Tuesday.
The Elim area came to a standstill - no schooling took place, no transport operated in the area and businesses were closed. A heavy police presence monitored the situation.
The reason for the shutdown was apparently the bad infrastructure at the Rivoni School for the Blind. Parents and pupils demanded better classrooms and a hostel. They are accusing the Department of Education of neglecting them.
A community leader, Mr Nelson Mabobo, said that the former MEC for Education, Mr Ishmael Kgetjepe, had visited the school after the pupils had gone on strike in 2016, and he had promised to build the hostel and classrooms.
He further said that the former Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Mr Michael Masutha, had promised to intervene to improve the bad conditions at the school when he had visited and seen the state of the buildings.
Mabobo said that the new MEC for Education, Ms Polly Boshielo, had changed the plan that was promised by Kgetjepe and she said that she could not build the new structure at the school and that the cost of a new building was too high.
He said that the community decided to intervene and closed the schools, businesses and roads to support the pupils. He said that the conditions at the school made it very difficult for education to proceed smoothly. “The walls and roof may fall in at any time. We risk the lives of our children every day," he said.
"Something must be done before we lose lives of our kids in this dangerous situation. We want the MEC for Education, Polly Boshielo, to come down and see the conditions where our pupils are being taught. Look at other schools in the province and you'll see that some of them even have the luxury of air conditioners."
The spokesperson for the Department of Education, Mr Sam Makondo, said that a huge backlog existed. He said that they were going to build new classrooms, an admin block, sports facilities and a kitchen in phase one and, after completion of this phase, they would continue with the next phases. He appealed to the community not to disturb the education process and to allow the children and educators to go back to class.
He said that the representatives had met with the MEC on Tuesday and they had agreed that they were going to announce the dates when were they going to start building at the end of this month.
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A blocked road at Elim during the shutdown. Photo supplied.
Kaizer Nengovhela started writing stories for Limpopo Mirror more than a decade ago, in 2 000. Prior to that he had a five year stint at Phala-Phala FM as sports presenter. In 2005 Kaizer received an award from the province's premier as Best Sports Presenter. The same year he was also nominated as Best Sports Reporter by the Makhado Municipality. Kaizer was awarded the Mathatha Tsedu award in 2014.