Poor parents allegedly asked to fork-out R500 each to fence a Public-School

Issued by Jane Sithole, MPL – Spokesperson on Education
21 Feb 2024 in Press Releases

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Mpumalanga is deeply disturbed to have learned that poor parents are allegedly asked to fork-out R500 each to fence a public school because the Provincial Government has failed to do so. 


In April last year, the DA laid a complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) asking them to investigate why Rietkol Primary School in Eloff (near Delmas) has not been fenced for years which compromises the safety of learners. This complaint was also forwarded to the Mpumalanga Department of Education. 


The SAHRC confirmed receiving our complaint. In their response to the DA’s complaint, the Provincial Department of Education mentioned that they investigated the matter and found that, indeed, Rietkol Primatry School did not have a fence. The department also made a commitment in 2023 that “They have included the school in the 2023/2024 plan to be considered for fencing during budget adjustment review”. 


A year later, the school is still without a fence and the Department is mum. This has allegedly prompted the School Governing Body (SGB) and school officials to ask parents to fork-out R500 each to fence the school themselves. What disturbed the DA the most is that the majority of the 300 learners who attend Rietkol Primary School are from the nearby informal settlements and most of the parents are unemployed. Where are they going to get R500 to pay the school for fencing? 


The South African Schools Act 84 of 1996 clearly states that ‘the property and access roads to schools must be adequately fenced’. 


The DA will take this up as a matter of urgency with the Provincial Government in our next Legislature Sitting. We will demand that the MEC for the Department of Education, Bonakele Majuba, lodge an investigation into these serious allegations that parents are asked to fork-out money to fence a public school. We will also demand that the MEC explain to the house why the Department has not fenced the school even though they made a commitment last year. 


The DA also calls on the SAHRC to urgently complete the investigation into this matter so that a way forward can be implemented.