Ricochet News

Port Elizabeth-based school finally got outstanding funds from ECDOE

Apr 20, 2017
Port Elizabeth-based school finally got outstanding funds from ECDOE

Phakamisa High School in Port Eliz­a­beth this month received R306 730.75 from the East­ern Cape Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion (ECDOE) after the Grahamstown-based Legal Resources Cen­tre inter­vened to ensure that fund­ing, which had been out­stand­ing on their paper bud­get and their school nutri­tion bud­get since 2016, was paid.

"In Sep­tem­ber 2015, Phakamisa, a no-fee school in Zwide, was forced to merge with Them­bal­a­bantu Senior Sec­ondary School and Lwazil­wethu Senior Sec­ondary School," the centre said.

"The merger was over­seen by the East­ern Cape Depart­ment of Education’s (ECDOE) dis­trict office in Port Eliz­a­beth, but did not com­ply with the pro­ce­dure for the merg­ing of a school as set out in the South African Schools Act.

"The schools were forced to merge after it became appar­ent that the infra­struc­ture at Them­bal­a­bantu and Lwazil­wethu was so dilap­i­dated and unsafe that learn­ers could no longer be taught in the school build­ings."

It said that after the merger, Phakamisa’s learner num­bers increased from 544 to 860 (the num­ber has since declined and is cur­rently at 729) and the two other schools were closed.

"Despite the increase in learner num­bers, the 2016/2017 paper bud­gets and National School Nutri­tion Pro­gramme (NSNP) bud­gets for Them­bal­a­bantu and Lwazil­wethu were not trans­ferred from the closed schools to Phakamisa. Con­se­quently, Phakamisa had to pro­vide for 860 learn­ers while only receiv­ing fund­ing for 544 learn­ers.  

"This had an impact on the qual­ity and quan­tity of the food pro­vided through the school nutri­tion pro­gramme and the over­all finan­cial sit­u­a­tion at the school," the Centre described.

"The school was forced to use much-needed main­te­nance funds to sub­sidise the nutri­tion pro­gramme and pay their out­stand­ing accounts.

"At the start of the 2017 school year, the school was expe­ri­enc­ing immense finan­cial prob­lems and had no money to feed the learn­ers or pay any of their bills.

"On 17 Feb­ru­ary 2017, the Legal Resources Cen­tre, rep­re­sent­ing the school gov­ern­ing body of Phakamisa, applied to the High Court in Gra­ham­stown for an order com­pelling the ECDOE to merge the bud­gets of the three schools and pay Phakamisa the out­stand­ing money for their paper bud­get and NSNP bud­get."

 The Center further said that the par­ties reached a set­tle­ment agree­ment and the ECDOE agreed to pay the out­stand­ing money within 21 days of the set­tle­ment.

"This pay­ment has ensured that Phakamisa can set­tle their out­stand­ing debt and pro­vide school nutri­tion to all the learn­ers."