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By Anita Dangazele

More than 1,000 learners donned a range of school uniforms and filled the grounds of Enkululekweni Primary School on Wednesday, pleading to be allowed to go to school.

The learners, from NU29 in Gqeberha’s Motherwell township, began their school year on Wednesday while construction on the remainder of the school continued.

Parent Nowezile Tyali said they want the children to use those structures that have been completed. They hope that the children’s presence will put pressure on the construction company and the department.

Construction of the primary school started in 2021 to accommodate learners from NU29.

Parents of pupils had fought for a school to be built in the area because they were struggling to place their children in nearby schools.

According to parents, neighbouring schools complained about the large number of children in NU29 missing classes as the buses couldn’t transport all of them.

Learners had to walk more than 5 km to get to schools in NU7 and NU12.

The parents were told the new school would be ready at the start of 2023 but on Tuesday, teachers were locked in a meeting while a construction crew was still working.

More than 1,100 pupils are expected to attend Enkululekweni Primary School when it finally opens its doors.

Scrolla.Africa was given directions to the school by two young boys selling fruit while they waited for the school to open.

Gogo Nancy Bam said she is worried that her three grandchildren will fall behind.

“My grandchildren used to attend Imbasa Primary in NU12 and were forced to walk to school. It was a worry because sometimes they were robbed, but now they are without a school,” she said.

A resident who lives near the school, Nosipho Minyayo, said construction stopped in October with workers only returning to the site two weeks ago.

Ward councillor Lunga Minyayo said there had been delays with the installation of water services and the finalisation of documents for the issuing of a certificate for the premises to be handed over.

Provincial education spokesperson Malibongwe Mtima said the school was not included in last year’s budget but the department had bowed to pressure from the community.

“Since the school was never budgeted for, the department had to seek surplus from a previous project,” he said.

The company in charge of the construction site refused to comment on the matter.

Pictured above: Children outside the Enkululekweni Primary School

Image source: Anita Dangazele