The Leadership College in Manenberg, which has produced A-students for the past decade, has been called “an extremely terrible tenant”, and was asked to vacate the premises when their lease expired last December.
It’s also been revealed that the no-fee school is in serious financial trouble and can no longer sustain itself.
The school has failed to pay rent to Cape Town Child Welfare, which owns the building, and also fell behind on its water and electricity bills, and other municipal services, the Western Cape Education Department confirmed.
Parents of students have now started asking people on social media to donate money to try and save the school.
Christopher Debeyer, of the Cape Town Child Welfare Executive Committee Board, says it is not the first time they’ve taken the school’s director, Ashra Norton, to court.
“Cape Town Child Welfare started renting out their property to The Leadership College [TLC] in January 2012,” he says.
“Mrs Norton wanted to start her school and said she wants to rent and has funders for the institute and if the school was successful she would move.
“She had known since January 2012 that the lease ends in December 2016.
“TLC has been an extremely terrible tenant. Part of the lease agreement was that Norton would cover municipal services and their account; [but] she never paid a single cent.
“That in turn meant we owed the City over a R1 million.
“TLC had outstanding rent of over R400 000.
“Child Welfare struggles with funding and having tenants like these makes it even harder. With the application to liquidate their assets on 10 December, R60 000 was paid into our account from Norton.
“On 11 May, we appeared in the High Court and asked the judge for an urgent eviction notice, because we don’t want to interfere in the schooling year of the learners and we’re trying to be sympathetic towards parents.
“We have asked the judge to grant the order at the end of this school year.”
Jessica Shelver, spokesperson for Education MEC Debbie Schäfer, says TLC is registered with the WCED and receives a subsidy.
“TLC qualifies for the maximum subsidy of R6 336 594 per annum,” she says.
“It however appears that the Leadership College is not able to sustainably manage its affairs satisfactorily, as there have been ongoing disputes with the landlord, as well as financial concerns.
“The WCED will continue to provide the subsidy should the school be able to provide evidence of a 12-month lease in addition to other criteria.
“We will accommodate the learners that currently attend the school in public schools on application by the parents.”
The Daily Voice visited the school yesterday to speak to Norton, but was told by the principal, Mr Yousef Atcha, that she was not there.
Calls to Norton’s cellphone went unanswered.