Heartless Bushiri Ministries throws pupils, staff out in the cold

In a shocking turn of events, the Bushiri Ministries has evicted Kids Milestone Primary School from its property in Blue Hills, Midrand just hours before the start of the new school term.

The heart-wrenching scenes unfolded as books, furniture, and other belongings were unceremoniously removed and left out of the school gate, causing distress and uncertainty among parents and learners.

Sunday World understands that parents received a WhatsApp notification from the school’s management on Monday morning informing them of the eviction.

The message conveyed the school’s efforts to address the situation legally, expressing hope that a court interdict would rule in its favour.

However, the suddenness of the eviction left parents and pupils stunned and wondering about their next steps.

“This is to notify you that the school is being evicted by the Bushiri Ministries. Our lawyers are attending to the matter as we speak,” reads a message from the school.

“We are waiting for the court interdict. We believe it will rule in our favour. We will update you of the outcome as soon as it comes. For inquiries kindly contact the school or come by the school. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

According to sources close to Sunday World, the Bushiri Ministries had acquired the school property a few years ago, however, it has now been sold to a new owner, leading to the eviction.

A letter seen by Sunday World shows that the school had been notified on June 13 to vacate the premises. The principal, however, claims they were taken by surprise and unaware of the need to leave.

The letter reads: “This is to certify that on the 13 June 2023 at 17:15 at plot 36, Main Road, Blue Hills, Midrand, Johannesburg being the place of business of Milestone Primary School, a copy of the order was duly served upon Cecelia [an] employee, a responsible person, after the original document had been shown and the nature and contents thereof explained to the said person.

“Rule 4[1][a][v] remarks: The school at the supplied address has more than 150 children. The document was served on Cecilia who refused to reveal her last name. She indicated that Pastor James is school proprietor and still refused to disclose Pastor James’ full names.”

The school’s owner and principal, Pastor James, expressed disappointment, confirming that the eviction order came from the Bushiri Ministries.

He said the abruptness of the eviction was particularly distressing, as it coincided with the school’s reopening. Pastor James assured that alternative arrangements were being sought for the pupils to ensure that the academic calendar continued uninterrupted.

“They just came today and evicted us, [ no notice]. It is so bad for the children because the school is opening tomorrow, they were not even lenient on the children.

“We are now trying to get alternatives for the children, however, it is hard because schools are opening tomorrow, and it is in the middle of the year. However, the school has to run, we have to finish the school calendar, we will make a plan,” said Pastor James.

Parents confirmed that they had been informed about the property transaction when Bushiri took over and were assured it would not impact their children’s education.

The sudden closure announcement, just a few hours before the new term, however, has left many feeling betrayed.

Concerns were raised about the school’s ability to refund fees already paid, with rumours circulating that teachers had not been paid for several months.

“We were shocked when we saw the message on the group that the school is shutting down, we were only told this morning, a few hours before the third term begins,” said Philisiwe Mthethwa, one of the parents.

Mthethwa said she has already paid the school fees in full and fretted that the school might be unable to refund her.

“They said Bushiri Ministries is evicting the school because Bushiri owns the land. This is not the first time we hear about this, it was communicated around 2018/2019. We thought it had been sorted, but now it comes up again on the last day of the holidays when the children are expected to go back to school.

“The kids are here, and us as parents as well, everyone is frustrated. Our challenge now is that some of us have paid the school fees in full.

“I am wondering if the owner of the school will be able to refund my money, because I spoke to one of the teachers who told me that she hasn’t been paid for about five months. It is really frustrating,” she said.

Parents expressed frustration and anxiety, especially regarding finding alternative schools for their children mid-year.

The limited availability of vacancies further exacerbated their worries. They eagerly awaited the response from the education department to address the situation.

“I am frustrated because that means we now need to find another school for our children next year, we do not have a plan for them tomorrow, many schools are full, where is the department going to get space now in the middle of the year.

“We are waiting to see what the department is going to say tomorrow, but we need these kids back in school,” said another disgruntled parent who did not want to be identified.

While exploring the school with the sheriff overseeing the eviction order, Sunday World discovered that the school property housed informal cottages rented by families, as well as staff members and other tenants.

These individuals were also forcefully evicted, exacerbating the emotional distress and uncertainty surrounding their living arrangements.

The evicted individuals, including caretaker Alex Manda, shared their experiences and expressed their desperation at the sudden turn of events.

“We are very traumatized because we were not expecting what is going on today, but there is nothing we can do because we do not have the power. We have kids and now we do not know where we are going to go with our kids. We are very upset,” said Manda.

Another teary tenant shared: “I do not have money; I do not know what I am going to do. I have been here for seven years, and this has never happened. We were not expecting it. I don’t know where I will go or where I will get the money to pay rent.”

It is understood that the Gauteng department of education along with the MEC for education Matome Chiloane will visit the school on Tuesday to facilitate the allocation of learners to nearby schools.

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