GEORGE NEWS - The possible merging of the two schools in the hamlet of Herold is once again in the spotlight after the ANC's Cameron Dugmore spoke out in support of a merger.
In a recent post on Facebook, Dugmore said he visited Herold, located between George and Uniondale, and is concerned that the schools are still functioning as separate entities, thereby continuing the legacy of apartheid.
Dugmore is now getting involved since Herold Meander owner, Theo Adams, has had no success addressing the issue. In earlier letters sent to former Premier Helen Zille and the MEC of Education in the Western Cape, Debbie Schäfer, Adams stated that merging Herold Primary and Franken Primary "is the right thing to do".
He said the continuing separate operation of the schools is derailing farming activities as it impacts on farm security, access to the farm, fencing and "it is ignoring the property rights of a black farmer and the VGK de Villiers Church". Adams said he asked Dugmore to get involved, because he was told to approach the opposition leader in the province after months of waiting for a response from the Western Cape government.
"If the schools merge - and it was merely a suggestion - it would immediately solve some of the problems like the parking of the school buses." He said the issues between the school and himself as owner of the adjoining land, started in 2015.
In his Facebook post, Dugmore alleged that the DA government is preventing the schools from merging. "I was very concerned with the Apartheid education legacy which the DA refuses to deal with." He asked why the former Model C school Herold Primary (less than 50 learners), cannot merge with the former "coloured" school, Franken VGK Primary (about 300 learners), which is only 650 metres away. He said Grades R to 3 could occupy one building and Grades 4 to 7 the other. "Letters were written to former Premier Zille and MEC of Education last year and have been ignored to this day. Why are they ignoring the call to unite and transform education in the Western Cape?" he asked.
Schäfer received no letters
Schäfer's spokesperson, Jessica Shelver, said they have checked their official e-mail address for correspondence, and the Ministry has not received any letters from the ANC or the Herold Meander owner, Theo Adams, requesting a merger. She said both Dugmore and Adams are quite familiar with their official e-mail address.
"If they do not use this address, we cannot respond to their correspondence."
Shelver said there is a possibility that consideration may be given to merging the two schools in future, but due process would need to be followed.
Dugmore said he and ANC shadow education MEC Khalid Sayed will meet with the school governing bodies of both schools. "I will ask Sayed to raise the matter in the legislature. It is clear that what is needed is the merging of the two schools and the use of one building." Shelver said the department would first have to recommend a merging of the schools to the minister. "They need to investigate possibilities, which requires discussion with the schools."
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