WHEN schools re-opened on Tuesday, 10 April the learners of Phambili High School were determined to get back the school building that was again raided by EFF members during the Easter weekend.
The building which belongs to the school in Seaview, had been occupied by illegal tenants for more than a decade.
Queensburgh News prevously reported that the matter was only unearthed by parents in 2018, when they were fed up with the overcrowding of classrooms and demanded a meeting with the tenants and the school.
In February this year, after some protest and an altercation between the tenants and the school, Queensburgh News was informed that the tenants vacated the three classrooms and, according to the school principal, Londa Luthuli, the remaining tenants promised to vacate the rest of the classrooms within seven days.
The paper reported accordingly, which aggravated a tenant. The tenant penned his complaint, stating that the school governing body had indeed taken three rooms to use as classes, but that they had never agreed to vacating the building on February 27 as was reported.
The three classrooms were prepared to be occupied by the GET section for Grade 8 and 9 when schools re-opened for the second term, but those plans have been thwarted.
Almost two months later the tenants were still occupying the building and desks and chairs were thrown out of the reclaimed classrooms.
According to Luthuli, EFF members invaded the school building and threw out desks and chairs. “They told us in front of the police that they will fight with parents and learners who try to enter the building,” he said.
According to Human Settlements and Public Works, media liaison officer, Mbulelo Baloyi, the building does belong to the school. Queensburgh News has a copy of the deed.
After the protests in February, the department visited the school and found that four classrooms were vacated by illegal occupants and the school had already prepared them for learners by installing blackboards and school furniture.
“There were approximately 15 illegal occupants on the said property originally and it was discovered that only four families remained as the others have relocated elsewhere. There were four families still remaining on the State owned property. Three families with their possessions are occupying one classroom while the other one is occupying the other classroom,” said Baloyi.
According to Bellair SAPS no case has been open but they did attend to the scene and found a group of people moving desks and chairs out. Capt Chiliza from Bellair said these people said they were instructed by their EFF leaders.
According to EFF provincial organisor, Mawethu Mathe the building does belong to the school but all they want is for the school to evict the tenant the proper, legal way.
“According to the laws of South Africa if a person has been living a property for over a long period of time you have rights to it and if the rightful owner comes around they need to follow the right proceedure to evict,” he said.
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