Diwali: Why are Chatsworth schools being denied permission to close?

George Mari, MPP

DA KZN Spokesperson on Arts and Culture

The Democratic Alliance has today written to KwaZulu-Natal Education MEC, Peggy Nkonyeni, calling for swift answers after it emerged that while Phoenix schools have permission to close on Monday 4 November due to Diwali her department has insisted that Chatsworth schools open as usual.

According to a Chatsworth school principal, who has asked to remain anonymous, schools within both communities applied for permission to re-open on the Tuesday.   Yet it appears that only Phoenix schools have been granted permission to do so.

The DA is puzzled by this anomaly.  It makes no sense whatsoever that a different set of rules should apply.

According to legislation, a school may close for two days during the academic year for cultural reasons.  Diwali is a significant time within the Hindu community and the MEC should be sensitive to this.

The DA calls on the MEC to grant approval to schools that apply for the day off.  We also call on her to provide immediate clarity around the issue of Chatsworth schools and to amend the decision if they have indeed been denied consent to close.