KZN Floods: School(s) under pressure
Mcopheleli Primary School in the North West of Durban, managed to avoid serious damage during the KwaZulu-Natal(KZN) floods in April. The school has had to fend for itself, in addressing problems by the natural disaster.
The principal of the school, T.I Mazibuko explained to JournalismIziko, how he and the maintenance staff had to manually unblock the storm water drains, preventing damage to classrooms. According to Mazibuko, it is the learners who were heavily affected by the floods.
“The school did not get affected by the floods, however, 15 educators and a lot of our pupils were personally affected. Some lost their homes or access to main roads and attendance dropped drastically. In that sense, we were heavily affected by the floods,” explained Mazibuko.
In the weeks following the floods, many parts of eThekwini were left without power and water, the KwaDabeka Township was not spared. Despite the primary school having JoJo Tanks on the premises, and gas stoves used for cooking lunch for their learners not being affected, the is school still facing a number of challenges.
“The water in the Jojo tanks is not suitable for cooking, so I would take a few of the maintenance staff with me to fetch water. With our gas stoves, we refilled the tanks every few days because some suppliers were taking advantage of the high demand and not fully filling the tanks,” the principal stated. The school also had to accommodate a number of learners from within the district, who could no not access their own schools, due to the flood damage. This was decided during a meeting with parents, held in the community hall, that learners from the neighboring schools would be accommodated in Mcopheleli for as long as necessary, so that the learners would not fall behind on their academic work.
Mazibuko noted that the KZN Department of Education had yet to provide support for this initiative despite instructing schools to take in displaced learners, forcing the schools to rely on donations for support.
“If it is true that the school had to go on with additional learners, without any support, the district must ensure that this is done,” said Sipho Mlotshwa, the Deputy Director of Media Relations for the Department of Education (KZN). The department is currently awaiting a report from the district.
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