Vandals keep kids out of school

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By MICHELLE BANDA

The Principal of Luzuko pre-school in Victoria Road, Fingo Village, is appealing for help to fix equipment and facilities that were vandalised during the lockdown. The school serves 37 children from the Fingo community and serves as a feeder for primary schools in the area, such as Fikizolo Public Primary School.

All ECD centres and partial care facilities were closed in March following the declaration of the state of national disaster by President Cyril Ramaphosa, as part of the national measures to contain the spread of Coronavirus. They were permitted to re-open following a Covid safety assessment process in August.

Luzuko Preschool can’t safely accommodate its young learners because during lockdown, the school’s fence was stolen. This invited vandalism and theft. Not only were the toilets smashed – swings, jungle gyms, tyres, and windows were broken or stolen.

A case on theft was opened at the police station. Meanwhile, the devastated school principal Ayakholwa Sam, has pleaded for any form of assistance.

“The place has become unsafe and unhealthy and so we can’t accommodate our learners,” Sam said.

Smashed toilets at Luzuko preschool in Fingo Village. Photo: Ayakholwa Sam

“We do not have money for fixing this mess. The Department of Social Development in Grahamstown is not in a position to help, as they claim they do not have money,” Sam said.

According to Mzukisi Matinise, spokesperson for the Department of Social Development (DSD), there is no budget set aside by that Department for structures at early childhood development centres (ECDs).

“The department only funds programmes for ECD and stipends for the ECD practitioners,” Matinise explained. “Luzuko can go to Makana Municipality to check if they can’t be assisted.”

Desperate for assistance, Sam contacted charity organisation Gift of the Givers. She also posted her plea on the Grahamstown Makhanda Facebook group, where residents expressed concern.

“Ow bade ba vandalise indawo yokwakha abantwana yhu hayi noko,”said Neliswa Ntamo Mampehle.

“Yintoni Bantu bekhohlakele nje xa bezamosha creche yabantwana mabayephi,”added Nonkululeko Nkulie.

“Zezinto zitsho ngezithende ezimnyama kule lokishi ziswelinto yokwenza zihlelinje zicingukungcola uba bebeqeshelwe uvandaliser bebengasoze bayenze lonto abafunuphangela abafuni noziphucula ngesandla zabo sies,”commented Bn Mills

Local handyman Luther Casper offered to to help fix anything within his area of expertise free of charge and urged others to do the same.

“Sisi ndi ngomnye wo handyman eRhini ndinganinceda to fix endikwazi uy’fixer for free thengani zinto ngani nceda just contact me… Any handyman I need your assistance let’s help them and do it for charity and future of young ones. Come guys, we can fix this mess, let’s be that old united Grahamstown,”Casper wrote.

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