Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says an application to start a school does not equate to permission to start operating, after having to shut down two illegal schools in Johannesburg.
“You apply, you wait and then you either get temporary permission or permanent permission. They acknowledge that they do not have any documents to allow them to operate and then the question then becomes, why operate the school?” he told the media outside an illegal school on Thursday.
This after Lesufi, in collaboration with law enforcement agencies, visited Wisdom English Private School in Ivory Park and True Grace Christian School in Ebony Park, Johannesburg.
“The purpose of the said visit was to verify allegations that the mentioned schools operated illegally. Indeed, both schools were declared illegal because they are not registered with the Gauteng education department,” its spokesperson, Steve Mabona, said in a statement on Thursday.
Upon inspection, the department discovered Wisdom was operating in four different locations in Ivory Park.
In addition, some teachers failed to produce legal identification documents and South African Council for Educators (SACE) compliant documents required to teach in schools.
As a result, some teachers and the principals from both schools were taken to the police station for questioning.
Lesufi gave officials 48 hours to furnish him with the necessary information to make an informed decision on the way forward.
“However, it must be mentioned that he was not happy with the conditions which are not conducive for teaching and learning at both schools. It is sad and disappointing to indicate that True Grace Christian School was among schools which were shut down in 2019.
“They unfortunately mushroomed at a new location which was allegedly built two weeks ago,” Mabona said.
Department officials have started a process to source placement for pupils who were affected by Thursday’s closure of the schools.
“Necessary engagements will be facilitated with all affected parents to guide on our intervention,” he added.