AZAPO Voice Volume 2 Issue Number 38


25 years into democracy, more than 250 learners of Mcheni Primary School in Ntywenka village in Tsolo are condemned to write their end-of-year exams in an open field.

Yet the Eastern Cape provincial education department had promised to provide the learners with temporary classrooms. But the promise has already missed its target of August 2019.

As they say, it is better to be late than never. Even at this late hour, the temporary classrooms will make a huge difference to the village students who have already been learning and preparing for their exams in the open field under extreme weather conditions.

Sometimes we say only God knows, but in this case we also know that it is unlikely that the children grasped anything under conditions that are not conducive to learning.

Daily Dispatch’s Ziyanda Zweni says the temperature was 37°C when they visited the school! The children were desperately trying to protect themselves from the scorching sun by covering themselves with their jerseys. The heat, rain and dust take turns on the children.

The politicians are neither touched nor bothered by the enslaving conditions that they are condemning the Black children to. That is because their own children are learning in the white suburbs where the school infrastructure and facilities are up to scratch.

Because the government failed to build a proper brick and mortar school for the Black children to escape such “crime against humanity”, the poor community of Ntywenka took it upon themselves to build their children some mud and shack structures as some classrooms. This is despite the fact that these Black parents are taxpayers like anybody else.

Of course, the wish of the Black parents is to see their children obtaining an education that will help them migrate from poverty. They have been subjected to intergenerational and abject poverty for too long that sending their children to school is an investment to develop themselves and their communities.

 The politicians and the organisations they voted for know that poverty is not a result of laziness on the part of the Black people. It is by design. It is as a result of landlessness, colonialism and racism. It is therefore a structural reality that will need more than motivational speaking to address.

The Ntywenka community cannot be blamed for not caring. Out of their hostile and stubborn poverty, they have further impoverished themselves by building some mud and shack structures for their children.

But such structures had their zinc roof blown away by strong winds. That is indicative of the fact that the government did not pass the structures for occupation by the learners and their safety. As for the parents, they so wished to get rid of their poverty that they gave their village the name Ntywenka. This word is usually used together with money as in “intywenka yemali” (lots of money). The desperation of Black people to be saved from poverty speaks for itself.

By the look of things, even their investment does not stand a good chance of giving the requisite dividends in life.

Who are these educationists who expect the learners of Mcheni Primary School to succeed in their studies and life in general? The children are between the ages of 6 and 16. How does anyone expect learning to take place where the learners are distracted by the sight of the goings-on in the community. As the teacher is busy with her teaching business, the learners are watching cattle, goats, sheep and chickens. They can also see some quarrel between some elderly residents nearby. That is over and above the heat, rain, dust, hunger and dehydration.

Where is the government in all this? In 2011 a contractor was given a tender to build the school. Yes, you guessed it correctly. It was as though it was built to self-destruct. No sooner had the school been built than it collapsed. All that is left now are ruins.

Yet the tender money was given to the contractor that won the tender. We all know that tenders are usually given to the cadres of the ruling party who know nothing about that which they bid to do. But we also know that the tender money is shared among the cadres and their political party.

That is the looting of State resources by the politicians and their parties that condemn the children of Ntywenka to anti-Black and enslaving conditions.

AZAPO Voice is aware that the Mcheni Primary School children are expected to sit for their exams this coming Monday. AZAPO Voice does not believe these learners are ready for the challenge. The provincial education department must intervene and make the necessary assessment and do what it thinks is right under the circumstances.

Didn’t somebody say the children are the leaders of tomorrow? What kind of leaders is the Black community developing? If you were asked to imagine white children learning under conditions of Mcheni Primary School, you would suffer a mental block because your mind has no such references.

Black children cannot be denied education under apartheid, and still be denied education under democracy. It should be enough that the Black Consciousness Movement led the Black students in a fight for free, compulsory and decolonised education. It is a fact of history that Black students were killed in their hundreds during the June 16 Uprisings for their demands. We also know that we have democracy today because of the sacrifices of those students.

 How did it come about that we still have the Mcheni miseducation after all those sacrifices?


As late as Monday this week, more than 34 000 learners, seeking placement, were still not placed in any school in Gauteng. This has created untold suffering to thousands of parents throughout the province who are concerned about the future of their children.

Thousands of angry and frustrated parents besieged several regional offices of the Gauteng Education Department in a bid to secure registration of their children. Virtually all the parents who were standing in those long and winding queues were Black. One does not need to be a rocket scientist to understand why this is the case. The crux of the matter is that due to the collapsing quality of education in the townships, Black parents are forced to smuggle their children into the former Model-C schools in pursuit of better education.

White parents, all of whom live in the suburbs where these former whites-only schools are located, obviously have better advantage for their children to be admitted. In any event, more and more white parents are withdrawing their children from public schools and registering them into private schools. Consequently, they are least affected by the crisis of shortage of space in public schools.

One of the main reasons Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi is popular among the parents is his unrelenting crusade to force the doors of the former Model-C schools to open to all, including learners from the townships. In that assignment to de-racialize the demographics of public schools in the province, Lesufi has done well. But that is the easy part. The real challenge is to stop the exodus of Black learners from the townships to the former Model-C schools.

Black parents are voting with their feet. Over the past decade, more than 100 public township schools have been closed, largely because of low enrolment. Thousands of working class Black parents are forced to shun no-fee schools in their backyards because there is no effective learning and teaching in those schools. The economically depressed Black parents are forced to spend their last money, paying up to R30 000 a year, in the former Model-C schools to ensure that their children have a better education that can help them secure a better life.

While Lesufi’s efforts of forcing transformation in the former white schools are commendable, the long-term solution of this crisis is to ensure that the quality of education in Diepdale Secondary in Diepkloof, Soweto, is the same as that of Hyde Park High. And when that happens, there would be no need for Black parents to fake their addresses in order to smuggle their children into former Model-C schools.


Auditors from the office of the Auditor-General have fled the Nelson Mandela Bay municipal offices leaving their work in an unfinished state.

A team of auditors conducting the annual regularity audit had to be withdrawn for their safety after they received sealed envelopes with some newspaper clips detailing the horrors relating to the Integrated Public Transport System (IPTS) and drain tenders.

As a matter of fact, the problem arose when the auditors asked for documents relating to these tenders.

From last year, a number of politicians and individuals associated with these tenders were executed either in their homes or in the streets. The residents said that thugs known as amagintsa were also involved as they worked with some politicians.

Prior to 1994, the majority of killings in the country were happening due to political rivalry where rival members were killing one another to ensure their political organisation enjoyed territorial control and hegemony.

Things have changed this side of democracy insofar as the cause for the killings is concerned. This time, the politicians are killing one another Mafia-style to gain control of the spoils flowing from the corruption table.

In a sense, thuggery has disguised itself as politics not only in Nelson Mandela Bay, but the country as a whole. In KZN and Mpumalanga ANC leaders are ruthlessly killing one another for corruption money.

In the 2016 Local Government Elections, no party gained an outright victory. The DA got 57 seats and was 4 seats short to make the 61 seats majority. It formed an alliance government with other parties that included the UDM.

On 18 August 2016 DA’s Athol Trollip became the Executive Mayor, while UDM’s Mongameli Bobani became Deputy Executive Mayor and MMC for Public Health. In May 2017 Trollip removed Bobani as MMC for Public Health citing maladministration and corruption. In August 2017, the Patriotic Alliance went a step further and moved a motion of no confidence on Bobani as Deputy Executive Mayor. This motion passed despite the marching out of parties like the UDM and ANC.

On 27 August 2018 a motion of no confidence on Council Speaker Jonathan Lawack succeeded after DA’s Victor Manyati abstained exposing DA to a 60-59 loss. Had he voted, there would have been a tie which would have been resolved in favour of the DA by the Speaker’s casting vote.

While the DA staged its own march out, Bobani was elected Executive Mayor. This PR Councillor quickly populated the mayoral committee with ANC Councillors, including Andile Lungisa who was facing criminal charges.

On November 2018 a report surfaced linking Bobani to receiving corruption money from a company linked to the Metro’s bus system. A vote of no confidence against Bobani failed.

A number of Councillors have reportedly been receiving death threats. This year, Speaker Buyelwa Mafaya had to call off, on “security reasons”, a council meeting meant to deal with a vote of no confidence on Bobani. Mafaya had to flee for her life when her neighbour’s house was shot at in a case of mistaken identity. She is said to have recently collapsed due to stress related to the intimidation.

AZAPO Voice is concerned that South Africa is facing the real risk of a weak State if thugs are allowed to successfully hijack politics.

To print and read the pdf version, please click hereAZAPO Voice Volume 2 Issue Number 38



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