Governing body members along with the parents of Summerfield Primary School are urging the Department of Basic Education to reconsider their quintile rankings and status as they are currently struggling to meet their financial obligations.

During the demonstration which took place on Monday, 11 March, the school’s governing body members had allegedly threatened to shut the school down if demands were not met. The school which is currently ranked Section 21, receives approximately R105 000 a year
in funding from the provincial department. According to reports, this money is mainly used to pay the utility bills and other running expenses.

Chairman of the SGB, Dino Reddy said, “The school has reached a point financial crisis where we are only able to sustain ourselves for the next three months. We have made budget cuts to try to stay afloat. School fees recovery is between 13 to 15 percent. We service three informal settlements including Kkhokhoba, Emanyaleni and New Village. We also service the Bayview flats area. Our concern is that even if the school fees is recovered from parents, we believe that the department has wrongly ranked us as quintile five when we should be a quintile three school.”

This would mean that the department will be held responsible for all utility bills. According to Reddy, the outstanding bill had accumulated for the past three years to a sum of R330 000. An agreement was reached with the municipality that a sum of R5 000 would be paid at the end of each month, however this was increased to R8 000 but is unable to be paid by the school.

Reddy said, “Parents do not have R500 to pay towards the annual fees, for some even a mere R30 is impossible”. The Department of Basic Educations spokesperson Kawzi Mthethwa, said, “We will continue to engage with the schools stakeholders to ensure that the school does not go without lights. “We want to assure the people of Kwa-Zulu Natal that the department is committed in ensuring that the process of teaching and learning is not disturbed.”