A school in Roodepoort has been plagued by a number of break-ins since a homeless family of six adults and a baby broke into the building and occupied three classrooms for shelter about two years ago.
It has become the norm that pupils of the Hoërskool Die Burger in Bergbron share their washing facilities with the said family on a daily basis.
After a visit to the school on Monday, the Democratic Alliance (DA) raised a number of issues and challenged MEC for Education in Gauteng Panyaza Lesufi to intervene urgently.
“This is unacceptable, as a school should be a safe place for students, not a place to house the homeless,” said Khume Ramulifho, DA’s shadow MEC for Education.
“One of the men was reportedly caught stealing in the science lab, he was arrested and he is out on bail and still resides on the school grounds.
“In addition, the school has had numerous break-ins since this homeless family invaded their premises.”
Ramulifho said the situation endangered the students’ lives and was exacerbated by the deteriorating infrastructure of more than 100 years, which “needs very good maintenance”, and lack of permanent leadership, making the school not conducive to education. and learning process .
“The windows and doors of the classroom are broken; the ceiling of the school hall was damaged in March last year and has not yet been repaired. The wooden tiles in the school hall are broken, seven classrooms are not used because the roof is leaking and the structure is cracking.
“The school lacks leadership because there is no permanent principal, instead there are acting principals on a rotating basis.”
ALSO READ: Nzimande dismisses accusations of incompetence in student department
Ramulifho explained that the school also faced a serious challenge of ill-discipline, drugs and bullying among the students.
“Some students sell drugs at school; students are afraid to press charges because they are afraid of being targeted. There were some students who sat under a tree during school hours and we were told that students are disrespectful to their teachers. They don’t follow teachers’ instructions, they do what they want, and they don’t follow the school’s code of conduct.”
While calling on Lesufi to intervene, the DA also appealed to the social development department to ensure that the homeless family is transferred to one of the homeless shelters in the province.
“The Ministry of Social Development needs to work with local NGOs to accommodate this family in the meantime as they look for a permanent solution.”