GEORGE NEWS - Heatherlands High School's recently hatched plan to bring in R200 000 per month by renting out two of its four hostels to the Aifa International Flight Training Academy in George, is yet to take off.
The headmaster, Clive Zinkfontein, said the school is struggling financially and has entered into an agreement with Aifa to hire out two of their hostels to the 60 Chinese Aifa students with effect from Saturday 1 December. "Everything is above board and the school governing body (SGB) is 100% behind the deal."
Role players, however, indicated that a few things need to get in place before the plan can be realised.
The SGB chairperson, John Ambraal, says there hasn't been any direct engagement with Aifa but in general the SGB is behind the scheme. "As chairperson I have a few questions I want to ask."
Cllr Virgil Gericke of the PBI, who was approached for his input by a few worried individuals, said it appears that policies were violated and therefore the processes were flouted, which makes the deal illegitimate. In terms of the immovable properties policy, this facility was supposed to be on tender. This is to make the process fair, transparent, equitable and just.
The PBI is curious to understand why it was not done and who is responsible for this. "We call on the WCED to institute a thorough, formal investigation to ascertain the truth about this deal."
Aifa base manager in George, Jaco Nel, did not want to comment, as "nothing has been finalised".
Millicent Merton, Western Cape Education Department (WCED) spokesperson, said the district office is aware that the SGB of Heatherlands High School has been in talks with Aifa about the use of the vacant hostel space, "but the WCED has advised the governing body to submit an application, in terms of the South African Schools Act, before they continue with the project."
In response to a question, she said that the WCED recognises the right of its schools, in accordance with sections 13(2) and 36(1) of the South African Schools Act, to occupy and use immovable property owned by the state for the benefit of the school's educational purposes, as well as the responsibility of the SGB to take all reasonable measures to supplement the resources supplied by the state, in order to improve the quality of education provided by the school to all its learners.
Heatherlands High, a dual medium school that opened in 2016, is situated on the grounds of the old Die Bult School and utilises the existing infrastructure which includes 24 separate housing units.
The learners, who are in grade 8, 9 and 10, are mainly from Blanco and the farming areas of Geelhoutboom, as well as from Sedgefield. The long-term infrastructure planning allows for approximately 600 learners, 120 per grade, in the school by 2020.
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