Rural KZN children to get their school thanks to AfriForum court bid

A court has ordered the KZN education department to build a school for children in Nkandla who currently walk 15km to class. The department reneged on a promise to build the school.
A court has ordered the KZN education department to build a school for children in Nkandla who currently walk 15km to class. The department reneged on a promise to build the school.
Image: Gallo Images/ IStock

Civil rights organisation AfriForum has succeeded in its legal bid to force the KwaZulu-Natal department of education to build a school for a northern KZN community. 

AfriForum brought an application before the Pietermaritzburg high court to order the provincial education department to build a school on behalf of the Nkungumathe community in Nkandla. 

According to the organisation, leaders of the Mpungose traditional council and Nkungumathe community approached them around 2016 after the department had gone back on their promise to build a school in the area. 

Pietermaritzburg high court judge Rashid Vahed ruled in favour of the community and ordered that the school be built and that the community be involved with the planning. The case was won with costs.

AfriForum's project co-ordinator for education, Carien Bloem, said that children of the  Nkungumathe community had to walk about 15km to the closest school and that these schools had about 65 learners per class.

She said the organisation would monitor the execution of the court order to ensure that justice finally prevails for the children.

KZN education spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa said that the department would study the judgment. 

"In as far as providing extra classrooms we will do that in the blink of an eye but we will have to work towards the other deadline because we are a law-abiding department which respects the rule of law. We don't have to think twice about it," said Mthethwa. 

Mthethwa said that the department needed to look into how it had reached this point. 

"There might have been internal issues we needed to look at with regards to how we arrived at this point. As a department, we will need to look into who signed what and who committed the department to something but did not manage to deliver," he said.


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