This past Tuesday, we made good on our promise to donate food to Dumakude Secondary School after learners who come from impoverished backgrounds were forced to learn without receiving meals at the school due to the Department of Education’s (DoE) failure to perform a simple duty and provide nutrition.
The Department ultimately released a report that details the list of issues faced by the school, dating back to 2018, including the absence of a school Principal for the past 3-years.
It is important to note that the DoE could have resolved a chunk of the challenges listed on the report, should they have had the political will to do so, including the appointment of a school principal who would have handled the running of the school, after the previous one was transferred to another school by the Department due to allegations of physical and verbal abuse against learners and parents at Dumakude.
What is noticeable in the report is that the Department shamelessly blames parents, community members and the Inkosi for a number of the challenges, failing to take responsibility that it is due to their snail pace in dealing with problems head-on.
Of particular concern is the Department’s response – or lack thereof – to the nutrition challenges faced by the school, explaining that the application for the nutrition programme was late but failed to specify whom they were expecting to make the application since the school has not had a principal for three years.
The Department further explains that they will seek donations to provide a nutrition programme for the learners, ultimately stripping the school from the 2024/25 financial year benefits.
Even more troubling is that the Department gave strict instructions to the school to not accept any food donations made by ActionSA – without offering a viable alternative or temporary solutions to the nutrition issue – which the school relayed the message to parents, who made to decision to no block us from performing this duty, as their children had suffered enough.
An attempt by the government to further subject learners from impoverished backgrounds to go another day without receiving a meal, all because of a game of egos.
It must remain clear that our objective to provide food to the school was not fuelled by ill intent but was an action fuelled by the need to offer assistance to learners who expressed their frustrations in being subjected to learning on an empty stomach.
ActionSA will not shy away from performing duties for the people of KwaZulu-Natal that the government has failed in doing so, more especially those that affect those who reside in rural communities, who are already subjected to life under unfavourable conditions due to the government’s slow pace in bringing development to these areas 30 years after democracy.
The Department must accept full responsibility for its inaction and failure to intervene at Dumakude.
Their neglect and mismanagement are direct contributors to the current circumstances.