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Shopsteward Volume 27: Special Bulletin

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Media Centre  |  Letters

Re: Open Letter re Avondale Primary School in Atlantis

26 January 2016

To: Provincial Government
Att: Premier of the Western Cape - Ms Helen Zille

Dear Premier Zille

Please receive correspondence from our offices in respect of the unsafe state of Avondale Primary School in Atlantis and the shocking treatment that your officials have subjected the school's learners to. COSATU's comments below follows after a visit to the school on Tuesday morning 26 January 2016 on request of the community that has been affected.

Firstly let me declare on behalf of COSATU that Education is a non partisan issue which is much bigger than any party political agenda, so we want to collaborate and find solutions that put the urgent needs of our children first. Your office has been unable to make this a non party political issue by putting as MEC, a useless DA official who has shown to have no regard for poor learners. The state of Avondale is much the same as the state of so many township schools that cater for Coloured and African children. These township schools are in a state of ruin and second class to the Claremont and Constantia schools being attended by your kids and other mainly White learners. Surely after the demise of Apartheid, you can no longer justify a situation where township kids get second hand facilities compared to White children. This is just wrong and its racist, the way that you distinguish between the opportunities that you provide for mainly Black learners opposed to providing for mainly White learners in ex model C schools.

The state of Avondale Primary is clearly unsafe for learners and your Department may have been unaware thereof because of the general disregard you show to black learners. The unsafe situation at the school has now been brought to your attention and your continued disregard constitutes criminal neglect, for which we will lay criminal charges against you. The community will on Sunday after the general meeting related to Avondale, lay the charges against you personally and will effect a citizen's arrest if ever you set foot in Atlantis. The community will also have a press conference at the schools on Sunday afternoon at 16h00 to expose the horrendous conditions and a plan of action to secure their children's future at school. The communities deserves an answer from the Engineer's inspections, and a plan of action to address the worst of the neglect and to make the school safe and effective for use in the short term, until the new school is built next year.

The schools in Atlantis are united in their condemnation of the manner in which you continue to treat African and Coloured learners in the area and will be having general assemblies during the course of the week to discuss their support for facilities equal to white schools and for solidarity action. We further call on the National Minister of Education to force MEC Schafer to stop wasting money on parties for mainly white schools who pass, and to instead use that money to address the urgent problems at schools such as Avondale in Atlantis. We want to urge your good offices to understand and appreciate the concept of equality, fairness and social justice and to stop treating black learners as second class and provide them with the same facilities as the mainly white schools have, so that their opportunities for the future are the same.

Should there be no response from your offices by 12h00 on Thursday 28 January 2016, we will bring the learners to deliver a memorandum to your offices in Wale Street. We support the community's call that the learners not be returned to the unsafe situation at the school, until urgent repairs are affected.

Yours faithfully

via e-mail
Tony Ehrenreich
Cosatu Secretary

Avondale School Governing Body
Atlantis schools
COSATU Affiliates