Educare’s rental battle with City

The principal of a creche that has been renting space from the City of Cape Town at the Rocklands civic centre is fuming after she says a dispute over storage space left her children without their mattresses, learning materials, toys and food on Monday June 20.

Rocklands Educare principal Sandra Hendricks said her 40 children had had no food or mattresses to nap on because educare staff were denied access to a store room at Rocklands civic centre’s main hall.

The educare has been renting the minor hall at the civic centre for more than 30 years, according to Ms Hendricks, but it had used a room in the main hall to store the equipment, food and mattresses.

Ms Hendricks said that on Monday the facility manager stopped the educare staff from going into the storeroom, saying they did not rent the space.

“It was an inconvenience as all our equipment, food and learning materials are in the room. We have been using the store room for years and now all of a sudden it is a problem,” said Ms Hendricks.

Belinda Walker, mayoral committee member for community services and special projects, said the extra storage space had been made available to the educare, but only during a time when no other programmes were being held at the main hall.

“However, there are now a number of morning, afterschool and holiday programmes being held, that cater for the wider community, including youth at risk and the elderly. The sport, recreation and amenities department therefore requires the storage space to ensure that the equipment for the various programmes is kept safely and in a manner that does not compromise the users’ overall space within the halls,” said Ms Walker.

She said the City had been very accommodating to the educare for several years and would continue to help where possible in the future.

“As with all City halls and community centres, these are shared facilities; it must be borne in mind that these facilities cannot be used exclusively,” she said.

Ms Walker denied that the educare staff had been blocked from fetching their equipment in the storeroom..

“They simply needed to access the facility from the main entrance, as the property has two different gates,” she said.

“The educare has been using the minor hall on a month to month basis and can continue to do so, while agreeing to the terms of the lease. It is a standard agreement for all user groups of the City’s halls and community centres,” she said.