EFF rubbishes claims linking party to private school shut down_1

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Gauteng, have come forth and denied any involvement in the vandalism that befell a private school in Tembisa.

EFF accused of vandalising Tembisa private school

The party has been placed at the centre of a row between the Modern Christian School and the Baptist Convention Centre of South Africa.

Maggie Banda, the director of the private school situated in Tembisa, Kempton Park, has accused the EFF of forcing them out of a property that is owned by the BCCSA church.

Based on information taken from Banda’s account and that of the EFF, it is believed that the school had been leasing the property from the church for about ten years.

Meme Maphetho, an EFF Ward 19 councillor who is linked to the church, has been overseeing the agreement between the school and owners of the property.

It is not clear when the business relationship between the two parties soured but according to Banda, the school had started receiving threats from the EFF and community members in early January 2020.

Speaking to the Citizen, Banda revealed that they were forced to relocate to a different address after EFF members protested outside the premises. The property’s walls were vandalised with the words “EFF” and “No school in this yard” sprayed with red paint.

In the school director’s opinion, this was all the act of the EFF who stopped at nothing to hijack a piece of land that belongs to a church.

The party’s attempt at explaining the ‘confusion’

However, the party has quickly moved to vehemently deny these claims. The EFF’s provincial chairperson, Mandisa Mashego, claims that the party had nothing to do with this attack on the private school.

Instead, it was the sole actions of an EFF member that has brought the party into disrepute.

“We must first set the record straight that the owners of the yard are EFF members and had entered [into] an agreement with the school for ten years, which ended in 2016. The school is situated in a church yard where the yard is owned by Meme Maphetho, an EFF member in Ward 19.
“Meme Maphetho did not want to extend the lease agreement when it expired in 2016. However, it was renewed on a month-to-month basis for a period of two years, until 2018,” Mashego said in a statement.

The party claims that a soured business relationship between Maphetho and Banda escalated into a situation where the former was recently slapped with a harassment court order, prohibiting her from direct, or indirect, contact with the school or its management.

More than anything, according to Mashego, the EFF only inserted itself into the matter as mediators.

“The EFF has nothing to do with the operations or the shutdown of the private school. It is simply a case of differences between the owner of the property who happens to be an EFF member and the owner of the private school which ultimately led to them leaving the premises,” Mashego insisted.

The party has laid the responsibility squarely on Maphetho who has been accused of misusing “the organisational name to seek rent and/or to evict the school”.

There has been confusion about who owns the vandalised property. The EFF claims that the church is situated on the grounds of Maphetho’s property.

However, Banda has refuted this claim, stating that rental invoices show that they were leasing the property from the church, and not Maphetho. The school’s director further claimed that she has received continued threats from Maphetho, even after the school moved to a new address.

“She has now threatened the new premises we have found. We have every single documentation. We don’t understand how a dispute between management should affect children and their education. This woman has her own personal agenda and is causing a lot of harm,” Banda exclaimed.

The EFF has since distanced itself from the debacle, claiming that it is “a matter of an agreement between private citizens that has gone bad.”