Students from Philippi High march to the offices of the Department of Education in Mitchells Plain demanding a new school be built
Cape Town – About 150 pupils from Philippi High marched to the Metro South Education District office earlier this week to demand a new school building, which they say was promised to them.
At the start of the protest on Monday, pupils blocked traffic on New Eisleben Road with rocks and debris. Police fired at least one stun grenade to disperse pupils.
Police made several attempts to stop the march, claiming it wa
At the gates of the district office, about 60 pupils crammed the entrance preventing vehicles from entering.
“We are tired of the department’s promises,” said a pupil over a megaphone. “If there is no plan for our school, the school will be shut down.”
Pupils want the department to inform them about progress with the new school it had promised them. A year ago, police fired stun grenades at pupils protesting over the lack of infrastructure.
This week, police tried to negotiate by letting a handful of pupils into the department building, but the pupilss wanted the department to address all of them.
From behind the gates, director of Metro South Education District, Glen van Harte, told the pupils: “If the gathering is about a new school, I don’t know why you are here.”
Van Harte told pupils a new school would be built.
Athulle Baba, who matriculated from Philippi High and is now at university, said classes at the school were taught in shipping containers which were hot in summer and cold in winter.
Mzimabi Mathenga, a Grade 12 pupil, said the department had promised to build a school in two years, but there was no sign of it.
“We need the truth about the (status of the new) school. It’s our education,” said Mzimabi.
Pupils said they would continue protesting until they received clarity on the new school.
Philippi High principal Mandisa Cenga said the new school was in progress and he had kept pupils and teachers informed.
He said a meeting with the architects scheduled for Monday had to be postponed because of the pupils’ protests.
A spokesperson for the Western Cape Education Department said the school was “in the design phase”.
“Based on the current budget allocation, the school should go into construction in the 2017/18 financial year,” the spokesperson said.
s illegal, but the high school pupils proceeded.