Phambili High School pupils displaced by dispute
PUPILS at the Phambili High School in Rossburgh, Durban, may have to learn under a tree today after being evicted from their classroom, in terms of a court order.
The pupils were evicted from classrooms located across the road from the main school building yesterday.
The classrooms were being used mostly by Grade 11 pupils.
The building, which was taken over by “tenants” a few years ago, has been the subject of a dispute between the tenants and the school.
The tenants claimed the right to use the building and the school also asserted ownership of the building.
In March this year, pupils and parents stormed the building and evicted the tenants.
An agreement was allegedly reached between the two parties, under which terms the tenants agreed to give up three rooms that could be used as classrooms.
But this agreement later fell apart.
Phambili needs the extra classrooms as it has about 1 000 pupils and is facing severe overcrowding. Following back and forth tussles between the school and the tenants over the past few weeks, the tenants went to court and secured an order to prevent them from being illegally evicted from the property.
EFF leader Mawethu Mathe, who is assisting the tenants, said the school had not followed procedure when it first evicted the tenants.
“We advised our people to follow the right approach and go to court,” he said
“On May 4, a court order was granted against the school and the tenants were allowed to reoccupy the space pending an eviction order by the school,” he said.
“The order was enforced today and we agreed with the sheriff that we do not want to victimise the children, and therefore they would be moved out after classes ended.
“And their equipment would be moved back to the original school,” said Mathe.
A school governing body member, who did not want to be named, said pupils might have to study outside until the education department intervened.
School principal Londa Luthuli said he did not know where to place the pupils today.
He also questioned the involvement of the EFF.
“The EFF leaders are here, moving the school furniture out. They are interfering with teaching and learning,” he said yesterday afternoon.
Department of Education spokesperson Sicelo Khuzwayo said the department was looking into the matter.
“We want to assure the public that we will do all that is possible to make sure that learners at the school do not lose out on learning time.”