Dear Friends Far and Wide
Tons of warm greetings; from rather cold and turbulent Mariazell. It is my wish and hope that you are well wherever you are, and in whatever you are engaged in. Over here Mariazell, “A luta continua” the struggle continues. All is well, from my perspective though not all is well, as those who are here in South Africa knows what is going on; we read from the papers and hear from the news everyday, the issues raised. There seems to be a moral decay in the society and worse still with the teenagers. In the last two weeks or so, we have heard of incidences of an unspeakable magnitude. Young boy’s first gang rapes a mentally challenged girl, and when doing it, they filmed it in their cell phones. Few days later another teenage boy rapes a young girl and as if that was not enough, gouges her eyes. Miraculously the girl managed to crawl to her parent’s house only to collapse at the door and survives to tell the ordeal without eyes. During the same week, two sisters are accused raping a boy, and this week a teenage boy kills a young girl after raping her. The sad reality of all these cases and absurd realities; the teenagers are too young to be in custody and as minors they are released at their parents custody. This begs the question; whose custody were they when they committed the crimes?. I am not advocating for their imprisonment, I am just wondering whether it is proper, while some of the teenagers have portrayed beyond reasonable doubts all the characteristics of a serial killer, that the law enforcement agents turns a blind eye, ignoring all that and release these boys to the society, without making an effort to help and rehabilitate them. As a person in the field working with teenagers, I feel that there is a lot that needs to be done in order to avoid the over crowding of prisons and creation of serial killers and rapist’s.
Anyway that was just a decoy; I write this email to update you on what has been taking place this side of the world. Mariazell, as alluded already is fine, at the moment experiencing turbulent weeds, and occasional rains. Nonetheless, we are lucky we haven’t experienced any tornado or tsunami yet. Apart from the winds, we are also experiencing relatively warm weather although in the evenings and early mornings the weather changes and become rather harsh with biting cold and frost. The surroundings are beautiful brown in colour, and soon we expect the mountains to be covered with a thick blanket of snow, and eventually the mission will have its share.
With regard to the school, everything is not right yet, as I have informed you time and again, the issue of temporal teachers is far from over. During the last weeks, the director general was fired, as he was blamed for stalling everything in the department. This is what is said, and we read in the media, however we are all aware that there were issues when he took over, corruption had crippled the department like a plague, the scholar transport, feeding scheme was non existence, and only when he took over and streamlined the tender issues with regard to the aforementioned services, did the feeding and scholar transport resume. It is a common knowledge that the unions have been allowed run the Department of Education in the Eastern Cape unchallenged. It is also true what they say, “when the two bulls wrestle, the grass suffer most” and in this case the learners are left to fed for themselves, and they have to feel the pinch. The unions and the government are fighting and stalling the implementation of teachers’ employment and everything and the changes that are necessary to enhance the delivery of quality education to the learners. Education as a basic right of the learners in the Eastern Cape, has been infringed, and the perpetrators go scotch free.
During the release of Matric Exam results, the minister of Education stated that Eastern Cape Matric result, was at the bottom nationally, and top of the poorest performing schools in South Africa, and the two poorest performing districts in South Africa were in Eastern Cape. In her projection, she stated that with the government intervention, the end of the year results will improve dramatically to 70% pass. Her utterances begs the second question; how can the Matric results improve drastically without teachers at schools?. As I have indicated earlier, had everything been left at the hands of the department, I am sure Mariazell High and Junior Schools among others, would have been closed by now. We have seven temporal teachers here at High School and four at primary. I believe there is no one out there who, can imagine a school without seven or four teachers respectively, who teaches the core subjects and expect everything to run normally, and also expect the learners to pass with flying colours. This explains why the department has to manufacture the results every year, not to disappoint the learners and the parents, at the same time to cover their shame for failing dismally in that field. As time passes by and the government takes eternity to resolve the matter, we find it harder and harder each month to hang on there and without further intervention, we may find ourselves surrendering; if not, a miracle has to be performed. For every month since the beginning of the year, we poke out R. 52000.00 for salaries, to keep the teachers in classes while it’s the work of the Government to do so. My fear at the moment, is for how long this will take place. At school, the principals have been instructed not to pay the temporal teachers from the Government funds that are given to schools for day to day running. Now, if the officials at the Government Departments are people of sound mind, as we would presume, how would they feel had their kids been left in the classrooms without a teacher for more than five months? Doesn’t golden rule in the Bible tell us to do unto others what we would wish them do unto us?. (Luke 6:31). If that is the case, then agree with me when I say that there is moral decay, whereby the good conscience has traded for bad conscience and those who are supposed to care and be concerned about others have turned into self righteous monsters. So goes the life, for now, i think that's sufficient with regard to the squabbles in the department of Education, my frustrations. Atleast you have an idea where we are at the bottom of the bottle.
Coming to the court case; it has been confirmed that the court case will resume on 15th of May. All the witnesses have received the subpoena. If all goes well, nothing will stop the case from proceeding and being concluded. So far those to testify are the doctors, the magistrate and the police and then the ruling. We remain very optimistic that the matter will be finalized and we get the closure we so eagerly waited for. With that, I conclude yet another chapter of the updates, hoping that this email finds you in a relatively good health of body and mind. Till I hear you, may the Risen Lord’s blessings still continue its work in you, and those that are dear to you. We remain united in Christ.