The beginning of the 2019 academic year has started of on a poor note for some schools in Durban as they face being disconnected by the municipality from water and electricity for failing to make payments, according to the Department of Education.
Already six schools in Phoenix, under Section 20, were disconnected last week.
The Department of Education, told IOL News that it was aware of the issue and would be meeting with relevant schools this week to investigate their municipal accounts and determine why or if the payments were not made to the municipality.
“A similar situation happened last year and the mayor and MEC met to have a discussion around this, while we understand that the municipality needs to ensure that there is revenue collection, our focus is on the pupils,” said the MEC spokesperson, Kwazi Mthethwa.
The different Sections in schools means that the funding from the department is different. Section 20 schools don’t receive school fees, they get services and textbooks paid for by the provincial department. Section 21 schools pay their own bills with the money collected from school fees.
Brailsford Primary in Sunford is one of the schools affected by non-payment and it has a total of 760 pupils and two Grade RR classes.
“We pleaded with the municipality officials to give us a chance until we found out from the department what is happening,” added a school official from Brailsford Primary.
“We were told the municipal official was not meant to disconnect the lights and water but was only meant to serve a warning notice of intent to disconnect if accounts were not paid at a certain time,” noted another principal from an unnamed school.