Holy Cross Primary School wants to lease a piece of City land to create a safe playground for its pupils, but the City says it has been earmarked for District Six land claims.
The land next to the school, on the corner of Searle Street and Nelson Mandela Boulevard, is unfenced
with open access from a pedestrian bridge.
The school uses the ground as a playground for pupils, who are supervised by teachers during school intervals.
Feroza Ryklief, a teacher at Holy Cross, said children developed discipline and their gross motor skills through play.
The unfenced ground is the only play space available for the school’s 566 pupils and the open access has become an urgent concern in light of the alleged abductions of school children in recent weeks. (“Pupil safety in spotlight,” Southern Suburbs Tatler, September 6)
“The bridge is all open; there is a walkway that is all open. We have to be three people on duty to secure that area,” said Ms Ryklief.
The Holy Cross Primary School’s lack of a safe playground for the pupils has been an ongoing problem, and two years ago, residents, parents, teachers and the school governing body made several attempts to tie down the land opposite the school (“No room for play,” Southern Suburbs Tatler, April 21, 2016).
Stuart Diamond, Mayco member for assets and facilities management, said the school should contact the City’s property management office and submit a lease application for the site.
He said the land the school wanted was subject to a District Six land claim, which meant the City would need to get permission from the Regional Land Claims Commission, as per the Land Restitution Act before it could be leased.
He said the application would then go through the required Council and Municipal Asset Transfer Regulation (MATR) processes.
Western Cape Education Department (WCED) spokeswoman Jessica Shelver said the school could formally write to the WCED’s infrastructure directorate requesting assistance.
The WCED, she said, could possibly apply to lease the land directly from the City and make the land available to the school as a play area or the Holy Cross Church could lease the land from the City and the WCED could then include the land in its lease agreement with the church.
At the moment, the WCED leases the land for the primary school from the Holy Cross Church.