It was a shaky start to the new school year for pupils and staff at Port Elizabeth independent school Ed-U-College as they lost yet another court bid to prevent their eviction from two Transnet-owned buildings in Central.
While there were some concerns as to whether teaching would take place this week as furniture was seen being moved from the buildings on Tuesday and yesterday, Ed-U-College director Lilian Niemann cast these concerns aside, saying the school had already moved to another building in Govan Mbeki Avenue.
“We have already moved to new premises and are fully operational. All our pupils and more are back. All our very loyal staff who have witnessed Transnet’s transgression are also back,” she said.
Niemann also confirmed that the school would not make any further court applications to fight its eviction.
“We started last week [January 14] as we are independent, not government schools.
“We requested Transnet before going to court to allow us just a further 2½ months, just to get one of our new buildings ready,” she said.
Niemann also denied that Ed-U-College was in debt to Transnet and had not paid its rent.
Instead, she claimed that Transnet owed the school R2.2-million for charging VAT on rent over the past 20 years.
“[Transnet] also [did not fix] the roof that was near collapsing four years ago. We had to fix [it] ourselves at great cost.”
The Port Elizabeth High Court this week dismissed the school’s application for a stay of a previous eviction order pending its petition to the Supreme Court of Appeal.
Transnet’s attorney, Craig de Lange, of Burmeister De Lange Soni Inc, claimed that Ed-U-College owed Transnet in excess of R1-million.