Hawkers’ demand reinstatement at school

Zebediela

 

Over eleven women, who were selling their products at Phishoana Primary school, said they’re now excluded from doing their business at school.

 

The school is located at Ga-Rakgwatha in Zebediela under Lepelle Nkumpi Local Municipality (LNM).

 

This comes after the school principal ordered them to stop selling due to inception of covid-19 pandemic and the inception hard lockdown last year.

 

But the vendors now demand the school principal to allow them back at school to sell their products.

 

According to one of the vendors, Johanna Ledwaba, she said, she is now desperate as she was using her profit to support her family.

 

Johanna said they now depend on social grants of her four grandchildren as her husband is unemployed.

 

She said as vendors they demands to be reinstated at school.

 

“While we were waiting to be reinstated we overheard that some of the people were selling. We grouped ourselves and took to the school and asked the principal to reinstate us”.

 

“The principal promised to reinstate us but subsequently after a week, we again overheard that there’s a spaza shop at school which is currently operating,”

 

“While we were waiting we overheard that other people were selling and we went to the principal to ask when he’s calling us back. The principal promised to do that but after a week we heard that there’s a spaza shop in the school,” said Johanna.

 

She said they are confused because as community they agreed that no spaza shop was needed at school as we were already operating our business.

 

She also alleged that the spaza is owned by the principal.

 

But the chairperson of School Governing Body, Sarah Tolo defied the claim that the spaza is owned by the principal, and in that statement confirmed that there is indeed a spaza shop operating in the school premises.

 

“Our school falls under quintile 1 and such schools are permitted to have spaza shops,” said Sarah agreed that vendors were put on hold due to covid-19 argued that they would be reinstated after the pandemic.

 

But she failed to answer to the vendors concern of what will happen to them if the pandemic becomes a lifelong phenomenon.

 

“The spaza is owned by the school and we hired one person to operate it with the assistance of teachers during break.

 

Tolo concluded the phone call with the statement “I have a meeting that I have to run to, and I cannot continue with this call any longer”.

 

A community leader, Madimetja Tlomatsana, said the vendors asked him to intervene in this matter.

 

Tlomatsana said after being briefed by over 11 women regarding the matter he then wrote a letter directed to the principal and the SGB.

 

In a letter seen by the paper, Tlomatsana demanded reinstatement of the vendors who used to operate before the lockdown.

“Proof of process followed to have the spaza shop installed in the school’s premises. We want to see public notice and adjudicator’s process indicating criteria used to choose the operator of the spaza shop.

“It is clear that the provisions of Public Financed Management Act were not followed in the instalment of the spaza shop,” the letter stated.

In addition, Tlomatsana said this smells of conflict of interest and professional misconduct (in terms of SACE’s constitution) from the principal’s part.

He said he handed the letter of demand to the principal who then argued that the time frame in responding the letter was short notice and demanded two weeks to respond to the letter.

Meanwhile the spokesperson for the department, Tidimallo Chuene, acknowledges the media queries and promised to revert back to the paper after consulting her team regarding the matter.

Thapelo Motseo

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