Province gives conflicting reasons for Zonnebloem school's closure
Situated in Walmer Estate, Zonnebloem Nest is a public school in Cape Town, that caters for learners from the city, as well as surrounding townships.
Twenty-seven schools around the Western Cape face possible closure for multiple reasons including under-performance and lack of pupils. Twenty of these schools are in rural districts and seven are in the greater Cape Town area.
In a statement released by the Western Cape Education Department, it said detailed learner placement plans were being prepared for learners affected by proposed school closures in the province and the aim was to improve opportunities for the learners concerned.
According to the department, the motivation for closing Zonnebloem Nest, which currently has 309 learners, was its “very poor condition of the buildings and high dropout rate”.
EE’s coordinator Doron Isaacs said the department had not yet announced an official decision on the closures so they couldn’t challenge the decision legally. "Right now we are building support for the school. Zonnebloem has a lot of promise, it should be invested in, not closed. Yes, it is a distance to get to the school but that is the learner’s choice. It gives them the opportunity to go into the city.
“Why should township learners be confined to township schools? Zonnebloem deserves to stay open and we wish to convince the education department of this. We do not oppose all closures because sometimes it is viable to close the schools down, but it is not viable for Zonnebloem. Even if the school was under-performing, that is not a good enough reason to close it down. The department might want to close Zonnebloem because they don’t want to pay rent to the Anglican Church or build on the land, but we want the church to support us on this. We will be meeting with the Anglican Church leaders and urge them to help keep the school open,” said Isaacs.
Premier's tweet giving reason for closure
On 31 July, a Twitter user called @imogenwright wrote, "@helenzille Zonnebloem Nest Senior School 'underperforming' despite 85% pass rate? Why? What are we missing? change.org/en-GB/petition…"
Premier Helen Zille responded on Twitter on the same day, “Very small matric pupil numbers. Poor facilities. Rental costs - just some of the issues you're missing.”
Doron Isaacs tweeted back, "Interesting that @helenzille, @bronaghcasey & Donald Grant have all now let slip that rental costs are a factor in Zonnebloem closure."