DA KZN: This is KZN’s worst school

Hlanganani Gumbi, MPL, Constituency Leader for Zululand East

and Mbali Ntuli, MPL, DA KZN Spokesperson on Education:

THE DA has laid charges against KZN Education MEC, Peggy Nkonyeni, after visiting what we believe is the worst school in the province – Mlokothwa High School in KwaNgoma.

We will also report the appalling circumstances at this school to the Human Rights Commission.

Yesterday we visited Mlokothwa High School.

What we saw is difficult to put into words and has to be seen to be believed.

Despite this school being ranked Quintile 4 – with day scholar fees at just over R1 000 per annum and R9 000 for boarders – pupils are learning and living in disgusting and inhumane conditions.

During the visit we found;

–          Filthy classrooms with no teachers

–          Broken windows in almost all of the classrooms

–          Dirty floors which do not look as though they have never been cleaned

–          Ceiling boards in danger of collapsing onto learners

–          Disused Science laboratories

–          Unkempt school grounds despite 13 staff specifically employed for this purpose

–          Clogged up toilets which are a clear health hazard.

Even more alarming are the living conditions of boarders, who make up almost 100% of learners.  We found;

–          No doors in some parts of the boarding house, leaving young women in particular open to danger and the elements.  This is especially alarming after very serious allegations last year of a teacher sleeping with learners

–          Young men forced to sleep on hard steel after they were instructed to bring their own mattresses – only the girls are provided with mattresses

–          Live electricity wires dangling inside dormitories.

Shockingly, the Headmaster and his deputies appear to be totally indifferent to the plight of learners.  In fact, they were only interested in taking any responsibility away from themselves.

The DA has been led to believe that Premier Senzo Mchunu visited eMlokothwa High School during his tenure as KZN Education MEC and that the school was in the same shocking state.

We would have expected that he intervene and change the situation without delay.

It is exactly this failure to act that lies at the heart of our province’s inability to perform educationally, which is tragically underscored by the many young people who cannot pass matric despite 12 years in the classroom.

Charges against MEC Nkonyeni have been laid in terms of Chapter 3, Section 30 of the South African Children’s Act which seeks to ensure that the health, well-being and development of children is safeguarded and that they be protected from maltreatment, abuse, neglect, filth, discrimination, exploitation and any other physical, emotional or mental harm.

The DA expects KZN Premier, Senzo Mchunu, and his Education MEC, Peggy Nkonyeni to take emergency steps to deal with the many problems at eMlokothwa High School.

As the DA Constituency Leader for Zululand East and DA Education spokesperson for KZN we will not rest until swift and severe action is taken to hold school management accountable and ensure that learners are treated like human beings.