Angry parents shut down dilapidated Limpopo school

Written by Ndivhuwo Mukwevho

Conditions at the dilapidated Hlalelani Primary School in Limpopo have continued to deteriorate, despite promises by the provincial Education Department that new classrooms would be ready at the end of this month, prompting angry parent to shut the school down.

Children have been hurt because of the poor conditions at the school, their safety remains at risk and parents have reached the end of their patience.

Tshilidzi Mulaudzi, secretary of the School Governing Body (SGB), said “The parents have decided to close the school gates after the department failed to build or provide new classrooms like they had promised.”

“We have written several letters to the department, but they have not replied to any of them or made any form of effort to try and contact us,” said Mulaudzi. He said a pupil broke her leg in May when she fell in a hole in one of the classroom floors.

We have written several letters to the department, but they have not replied to any of them or made any form of effort to try and contact us.

“The conditions here are not suitable for learning and these people seem not to care about the health and safety of our children,” said Mulaudzi.

Hlalelani Primary School is situated in the Watervaal area, near Elim Hospital. This is the second time this year that the angry parents have shut the school down. Earlier this year OurHealth reported that the parents pulled their children out of the dilapidated school after a portion of ceiling fell out of the roof and injured two pupils.

Now, after another long period of no action and empty promises, the school has been closed for safety reasons.

“This is the only language which our government seems to understand, hence we have decided to shut down the school. We want them to build new classrooms for our children. It is not fair for our kids to attend their education in this dump they call a school,” said parent Millicent Ramasimu.

“We asked for new classrooms, but instead of building them they are busy building toilets. Are our children supposed to attend their education inside the toilets?” she asked.

Johana Mudau, whose granddaughter was one of the pupils who was hurt when a classroom ceiling fell on them, said she is planning to move the child to another school as conditions at Hlalelani were getting worse.

“The conditions at Hlalelani Primary are not suitable for learning, where children have to go into classrooms with holes in the floor and a roof that might collapse at any time,” she said.

Limpopo Department of Education spokesperson Dr Naledzani Rasila said “The Hlalelani Primary School will get new classrooms before the end of the year. It is one of many schools currently on the list for renovations by the department.”

He called on the parents to allow the school to remain open.

“Parents must not close the school and chase away the learners. They must approach us as the department, as working together we can find solution to all problems,” he said.

About the author

Ndivhuwo Mukwevho

Ndivhuwo Mukwevho is citizen journalist who is based in the Vhembe District of Limpopo province. He joined OurHealth in 2015 and his interests lie in investigative journalism and reporting the untold stories of disadvantaged rural communities. Ndivhuwo holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Media Studies from the University of Venda and he is currently a registered student with UNISA.