The Bulletin responded to a call from a concerned parent to investigate certain allegations regarding the Vanstadensdam Primary school in Charl Cilliers.
Upon arrival, the Bulletin found a small group of parents gathered at one of the classrooms. The Principal Mrs Nthsali, as well as Mr Sello Molepo (circuit manager) addressing the concerned parents. The Principal earlier summoned the police to assist but the meeting was conducted peacefully. Shortly after the Bulletin arrived the police ordered everybody from the school grounds.
The Bulletin tried to speak to both the Principal and circuit manager but was ignored.
The Bulletin returned to the school grounds after the parents insisted that the children’s toilets be inspected. The toilets were in an extremely filthy state. Pit toilets are still used at this school. Not only is it very unhealthy, it also poses a danger to the smaller children of falling in. The boy’s toilets looked as if cow dung or grass had been stored in front of the doors. The actual toilets were so filthy that it could not be used without posing a health risk. The girl’s toilets were slightly cleaner on the outside but inside it was just as bad as the boy’s toilets if not worse.
One of the girl’s toilets was nearly overflowing with faeces due to the pit being filled up or the downpipe blocked.
The Principal, teachers and the Mr Molepo were conducting a meeting in one of the classrooms. Mrs Nthsali left the meeting and we (the Bulletin) made use of the opportunity to ask her some questions. She declined to speak at first stating “you are disturbing me”. The point of the dirty toilets was raised and when asked who must clean the toilets she said “it is the children and us, they use it”
The Bulletin pointed out that the state of the toilets is unacceptable. Mrs Nthsali just shrugged and tried to explain that she is new at the school. The Bulletin then emphasized the fact that she had been there for at least three years to which she gave no reply. “I don’t want anything written about me,” she said, “you will put me in a bad light.”
The parents later told the Bulletin that they have a number of concerns that need to be addressed. They are concerned that some of their children, few in grade 4 and even grade 7 are not able to read nor are they able to write.
There is a problem with the water supply and one of the staff members continually needs to arrange for water from Sasol.
Mrs Nthsali allegedly removed one of the teachers, Mrs Maina Nkabinde from her classroom. Maina complained that she did not receive her salary to which Nthsali replied “I can do nothing” The teacher was employed on a contractual basis but did not receive a salary for 7 months.
When Maina was appointed she did not have all the qualifications and this was made known to everyone. She has since started to further her studies to bolster her qualifications. Maina currently has a desk and chair outside her classroom where she sits every day, hoping that her problems will be resolved.
One of the other teachers, her name is withheld on her request, said that the principal is on a mission to remove all the teachers and replace them with teachers from KZN.
“Nthsali has two classes to teach and she struggles to do that while at the same time attending meetings,” said another teacher.
The parents called the circuit manager to arrange a meeting at the school to discuss all the problems to which he refused, stating that they must come to his office as he will not drive to them to discuss problems with them at the school.
The Bulletin became aware of allegations of mismanagement of funds and the parents are demanding that the Department of Basic Education investigate the allegations.