Threats of foreign pupils being denied entry in schools a ‘widespread problem’

Last month Eastleigh Primary sent parents a letter saying immigrant children would be arrested if their papers were not in order.

Picture: sxc.hu.

JOHANNESBURG - Lawyers for the Centre for Child Law and Equal Education say a recent incident at Eastleigh Primary School in Edenvale, in which foreign pupils were threatened that they'd be denied entry, is a widespread problem.

Last month, the school sent parents a letter, saying immigrant children would be arrested if their papers were not in order.

The organisation says they receive complaints of undocumented and refugee children being denied admission to schools at the beginning of every school year.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi told parents to ignore the letter while his department investigates.

The Centre for Child Law's Karabo Ozah says children are always entitled to their rights whatever their status or level of documentation.

“I must point out that Equal Education sent a letter to the school on Friday to tell them what they’re doing is wrong. We also had a press release just to point out that this is one of many schools doing this.”

She says there seems to be a larger systematic issue involving the Home Affairs Department.

“I think we must point out the bigger systemic issue which allows children to get into schools while Home Affairs tries to enforce certain regulations.”

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)