Inside one of the classrooms at the dilapidated Dibeng Primary School at Ga-Matlala in Limpopo. Picture: Supplied
Inside one of the classrooms at the dilapidated Dibeng Primary School at Ga-Matlala in Limpopo. Picture: Supplied

Learners boycott dilapidated Dibeng Primary School

By Mashudu Sadike Time of article published Jul 27, 2021

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Pretoria - Hundreds of primary school learners from Dibeng Village in Matlala, about 90km from Polokwane, did not return to classes when schools reopened yesterday.

Parents, teachers and community organisations decided following a meeting to keep the children from attending Dibeng Primary School.

The Limpopo Department of Education had approved a relocation programme from the school to the nearby Phuthi Seopa Secondary School.

However, residents rejected the recommendation.

Earlier this month the Pretoria News reported that the school had been described as a death trap due to cracked floors, floors full of holes and broken windows.

In 2019 a female teacher had to take early retirement after she broke her leg while teaching in class. She accidentally stepped on one of the holes riddled on the classroom floor.

Also in 2019 a teacher was badly injured after a brick fell on him when opening the door to the classroom.

The school was built by residents with donations in 1961.

One part of the school is so bad that Department of Health officials ordered that it be shut and written off.

The community said they had been sent from pillar to post by the department which had promised to build them a new school. It’s been a decade since the community has been begging for a new primary school.

Except for mobile classrooms the department is waiting for, learners have not been able to continue with their education.

However, in a letter addressed to the principal and seen by the Pretoria News, the department recommends that the learners be relocated immediately.

It reads in part: “The head of department has approved the relocation of learners, educators and management team from Dibeng Primary School to Phuti Seopa Secondary School. The district identified unused school buildings which previously accommodated Phuthi Seopa learners.”

Speaking to the Pretoria News yesterday, chairperson for Bakone-Matlala Development Forum, Kenneth Ramotshela, who was part of the meeting, said it was impossible for the children to be relocated because the school was not meant for primary schoolchildren and the department should fulfil its promise to build them a school instead of relocating them.

“We have been asking the department to build us a primary school for 10 years. Besides being far for children to travel to the secondary school, if we allow this then we will never have a secondary school of our own.

“The department continues to fail us. We are not going to put the lives of our children in danger and we would rather they don’t go to school at all because their original one has been written off,” said Ramotshela.

He added: “We demand our own school and we won’t budge until the department at least sends a commitment letter as to when they will start with the construction of the school. But they have chosen to demonstrate to us and impose the relocation on us.

“We are planning a sit-in at the department as we speak.”

Department spokesperson Tidimalo Chuene said: “We are still engaging with stakeholders in this regard, but the school approved for relocation was deemed non viable due to low learner enrolment.”

Pretoria News

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