No-fee school is forcing us to pay, say parents
Parents at a no-fee school in Queenstown, Eastern Cape, are outraged after the principal allegedly forced them to pay a R100-per-child admission fee this week for the new academic year. They also allege they were forced to pay a R150 “donation” at the end of last year to get their children’s reports.
Now one parent from Kwa-Komani Comprehensive School has written to regional education director Nkosinathi Godlo, asking him to investigate.
The parent, who asked not to be named fearing victimisation of her children, wrote that she had paid R250 for each of her children on Monday for admission, “irrespective of the fact that Kwa-Komani is a no-fee school”.
The parent told City Press that pupils were forced to pay R150 on December 9 2015 to get their reports and the additional R100 on Monday. The receipts, stamped with the school stamp and dated January 11, are for R250 each. They specify a R150 “donation” and R100 “late registration”.
“We were told last year the pupils would only get their reports after they paid the R150.
“We complained that there should be no registration or admission fee because this is a quintile 3, section 21 school, where there are no fees. Most of the children are from poor homes and survive on grants.
“How can we be forced to make these payments when government says we do not have to?” the parent asked.
A teacher at the school, who asked not to be identified, said: “Those who do not have the cash have been told they can pay later.”
Kwa-Komani has been the subject of investigations by the provincial department and the SA Council for Educators (Sace), with principal Victor Pakade being cleared by both institutions and reinstated.
Recently, a new investigation was begun into the school’s nutrition programme, and those at nearby St Theresa’s and Mpendulo schools. The investigators’ final report has not been released.
On Friday, Pakade called City Press, threatening action if the newspaper continued to write about the school without his comment. He then refused to comment on the allegations. He insisted he would be cleared by the investigation into the feeding scheme.
Provincial education spokesperson Loyiso Pulumani undertook to investigate the payments and respond, but failed to do so. In an email sent to City Press last year, he dismissed as “lies” claims made at the time by parents and teachers that parents had been forced to pay the R150.
“The assertion is completely devoid of truth and is obviously peddled by disgruntled individuals who seek to continue to destabilise the school,’’ he said.
Pulumani said the R150 was for lost textbooks.