‘Pupils finally have a space to play’

Peoples belongings being cleared from a field next to Holy Cross Primary which has been earmarked for a playground.

It’s all systems go at the Holy Cross Primary School in Zonnebloem, after bulldozers moved in to start preparing land to make way for a new playground for the pupils.

Earlier this year, the school raised concerns about the lack of adequate recreational spaces for the children to play as well as its struggles to get permission to build a playground, (“No room for play,” Tatler, Thursday April 21).

Principal Donovan Williams said the safety of his pupils at the school was “huge priority at this stage”.

He is happy to see work finally being carried out.

“We are delighted that so much progress has taken place on our grounds over the last three weeks. A company has started clearing and levelling the grounds. This is indeed very exciting for the school,” he said.

The work on the surrounding grounds had also eased the school’s concerns about vagrants camping in bushes around the derelict grounds, although Mr Williams said they “are still too close”.

Future meetings were planned, and would hopefully lead to the land being resurfaced and a fence erected around the school.

“This is simply massive for the school and the pupils, as it will contribute to their development.

“I am delighted that these pupils will finally have a place to call their playground and we are genuinely excited to get this project off the ground,” Mr Williams said.

The Mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, said there had been complaints about vagrants erecting shelters opposite the school and making fires.

The City had inspected the area earlier this year and Law Enforcement had demolished six makeshift structures and removed building materials.However, those living on the space had soon returned to the area.

Mr Williams said that would continue to happen until the land was used for something positive, such as a playground.

John and Delia Scott from reading group Rambling Readers, which runs at the school, had raised concerns about the playground issue.

She said the school’s children came from all over the Cape Peninsula, some from as far as Khayelistha, and were collected by taxi from as early at 4.30am. Sometimes, she said, the children fell asleep from hunger and fatigue while Rambling Readers volunteers read to them.

“It was the readers who noticed that the school had no playground of its own, and at break-time, the kids spilled out into the unfenced land, coming into contact with the nearby vagrants,” she said.

Mr Scott said representations, with the assistance of Mr Williams, were made to the City, which had now, in principle, “agreed that land below the church complex be loaned to the school on a temporary basis” until such time that the restitution process in that area is completed.

“The bush has already been cleared and some of the stony ground has been flattened. The search is now on for a sponsor to fence in the allocated land, thus securing the children’s safety. Right at the beginning of the project, more than a year ago, a retired businessman promised to help, and this is now being followed up.”