Residents protest school’s planned move

Pupils marched with posters against the relocation of their school.

Parents of pupils at a Manenberg primary school are unhappy with plans to move their children to a school in what they say is a more dangerous part of the neighbourhood.

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has proposed merging Sonderend Primary School, in Sonderend Road, with Edendale Primary School, on the corner of Philippi Ring Road and Manenberg Avenue, to make way for the new Klipfontein regional hospital.

More than 50 parents protested outside Sonderend Primary last Wednesday and Thursday, demanding answers from the provincial education department. The department hasn’t given a date for the proposed merger of the schools in a new building on the Edendale Primary site, but the Sonderend Primary parents say it’s a bad idea.

One of them, Gaironiesa Abrahams, who has children in grades
1 and 7, called the plan “disastrous” as gang violence, she said, was
common in that part of Manenberg.

The hospital would be of a
huge benefit to the community, but the children’s education and safety were more important, she said.

She complained that parents had first learnt of the plans in the press a few months ago .

“Gangsterism is so bad that side. How will the children go to school? If they have no education, how will they get jobs?”

Mayor Dan Plato announced plans for the new hospital last November.

Silverstream High will be kept as a school of skills on the former GF Jooste Hospital site in Duinefontein Road; a new primary school will be built on the Edendale Primary School site; the hospital will be where Silverstream High and Sonderend Primary are now, and Rio Gande and Manenberg primary schools will be rebuilt in situ.

The hospital, with paediatrics and obstetrics among its specialised services, will at first have 226 beds, with 418 added later.

It is expected to be larger than the Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain district hospitals and will be a referral hospital for surrounding communities, taking pressure off other facilities.

Ms Hammond said parents were upset because they had heard rumours that Sonderend Primary was closing, but the school was moving, not closing.

“The school is to communicate to parents the community action plan and to explain that the learners will not be without a school,” she said.