‘Give back school’

PROPERTY DISPUTE: Angry Christ The King parents, teachers and members of the EFF demonstrated in front of Refresh Laundry in Komani, demanding that business owner Prakash Vallabh step outside to receive their memorandum of demands Picture: ABONGILE SOLUNDWANA

Christ the King protesters claim court eviction from building unfair

Members of the EFF, Christ the King staff and parents embarked on a heated mass action to Refresh Laundry to demand that local business owner Prakash Vallabh stop
renovations on a property in dispute.

The school board chairman, Sicelo Ngqoyiya alleges that Vallabh sold the school the
property in Joplin Street for R1.8m a few years ago. But after the school had paid
R1.6m with only R200, 000 left to close the sale, the pupils and teachers were evicted from the building, which was then sold to another school.

Ngqoyiya said Vallabh was unwilling to refund the school the money that had been paid.
He said the school wanted to pay the remaining amount before the eviction, but Vallabh stopped using the conveyancing lawyer they were paying through and could not pay through the new lawyer.

He said Vallabh, took the school to  court for an eviction order. The school has appealed to high court.

The protest began with EFF members calling for staff  inside the building in dispute to come out, before locking the two entrances with chains and padlocks.

The crowd then went to Vallabh’s laundry business and gave him a list of demands.

EFF labour desk chairman Masibulele Booi read out demands: ”As the EFF, parents, and the community, we direct you to stop renovations.”

EFF chairman Xhanti Kani said: “The school [pupils and teachers] were chased out because
Vallabh said they had skipped a month’s payment. ”They did not pay due to the lockdown, the school was closed and there was no money [from fees].

”We are demanding that he sells the property to Christ the King as he had agreed,” Kani said, adding they would not allow Vallabh access to the building.

After Vallabh signed the memorandum he asked to address the parents, but was told to go
through the school board.

He then asked: ”Why are you so scared of me addressing the parents? What are you afraid of? Have you stolen the money?”

Vallabh said yesterday that he signed the memorandum under duress and would respond with facts at a later stage. He stressed that the parents and the EFF had not received the correct information about the matter.

Vallabh ealier stated that his contract with the school came to an end in 2018n due to outstanding payments, causing him to go to court.

By Abongile Solundwana and Luvuyo Mjekula


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