Today I visited the Lovemore Park Farm School in the Eastern Cape. This school, just 15 minutes outside of Port Elizabeth, has been abandoned by the Department of Education, and is on the brink of collapse.
The terrible conditions in which these children must endure is not only an infringement of their constitutional right to access education, but is also in clear violation of the constitution’s emphasis on the rights of the child being of paramount importance in all matters.
- The boys toilets are broken and locked. The children are forced to use the nearby bush;
- The school does not have access to safe drinking water;
- The pre-primary phase class fluctuates depending on the day and has been as low as 4 learners. This is because the other 30 learners cannot attend school as they cannot pay transport fees;
- The school only has two teachers. It is currently two short;
- The computer room is locked as they are short of teachers;
- The feeding scheme was stopped because of a lack of funds;
- Several rooms on the property have adults residing in them. They work on neighbouring farms and pay rent to the school; and
- A large pile of garbage lies a few metres away from one of the classrooms.
One year ago, DA Councillor Stanford Slabbert arranged a site inspection with senior education officials to highlight these issues at the school. To date nothing has happened.
On the 25 July, Leader in the Provincial Legislature Bobby Stevenson took the matter