Getting their hands dirty at Tsolo school

Eastern Cape provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Liziwe Ntshinga, centre, and fellow officers plant vegetables at the Tsolo Special School
Eastern Cape provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Liziwe Ntshinga, centre, and fellow officers plant vegetables at the Tsolo Special School
Image: Sikho Ntshobane

Provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Liziwe Ntshinga led a group of officers who traded their blue uniforms for civilian clothes on Friday and spruced up the Tsolo Special School.

Ntshinga and the officers, part of the police’s Men for Change forum and the Women’s Network forum, planted vegetables before fixing gutters and broken windows.

They also donated toiletries, sanitary towels, sweets, chips and soccer, netball and basketball kits.

“This is our contribution to the 67 minutes for Mandela [campaign],” Ntshinga said

She said special needs’ schools were not immune to criminal elements and that the interaction with the pupils at the Tsolo-based school would bring the police closer to them.

Women’s Network provincial champion Colonel Zimele Dembula said one of their objectives was to support vulnerable groups including women, children and the disabled.

She said by partaking in community building initiatives, it would also assist the SAPS in recruiting new members, while also building the profile of the organisation.

“The reality is that police cannot make arrests without assistance from the community,” Dembula said.

“Thus, this will also help ensure that the general public has strong relations with the police.”

The school in Mbutho village was founded in 1997 by former school teacher Thozama Goso, who also became its first principal.

On Friday, she recounted how a disabled young boy led her to establish the school.

“He struggled with subjects in class so much that he quit school.”

But due to her close relationship with the boy, he later said he would only return to school if she would be his teacher.

The school’s acting principal Vukile Mkhala said it was privileged that someone had even thought of the school.

The school has huge maintenance challenges as some of the pupils vandalised windows, due to the nature of their disability.

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