School squabble

A classroom at Dynamic Academy. Picture: Facebook

A Table View man who holds senior positions in the neighbourhood watch and community police forum has been accused of running a school illegally.

Jorge Campos is listed as a director of Dynamic Academy, which is registered as a non-profit company. It’s been based in Blaauwberg Road since 2014.

According to its website, it offers “homeschooling facilities” for Grades 6 to 12 and is best suited for children “who do not cope well in mainstream schools or who prefer to learn in smaller groups”.

Mr Campos was elected as Sector 1 general manager at the TVNW annual general meeting last month.

Schulla Pronk, also a TVNW member, accused Mr Campos of showing “disregard to the law” by continuing to run the school. She feels he should not be serving in organisations that are all about preserving the laws.

The City served Mr Campos with a notice in 2016, instructing him to cease operations at Dynamic Academy.

“He submitted an administration penalty application in response to the notice and was fined by the Municipal Planning Tribunal for operating without the necessary consent of council. Subsequent to that, he also submitted a consent application. This application was refused. Mr Campos has been served with another notice, and this is currently being followed up by the necessary action,” said Mayco member for spatial planning and environment Marian Nieuwoudt.

She said Mr Campos had contravened Sections 35(2) and 33(3) of the City of Cape Town Municipal Planning By-law which prohibits a person from “using or developing land unless the use or development is permitted in terms of the zoning scheme or an approval is granted or deemed to have been granted in terms of this by-law; and no person may contravene or fail to comply with a condition of approval imposed or deemed to have been imposed in terms of this by-law”.

After Tabletalk phoned and emailed Mr Campos, requesting comment, we were contacted by his lawyer, Reuben Healley, the following week.

He said Mr Campos had applied to council to run Dynamic Academy from the premises in 2016 and that it had been declined. Mr Campos had filed an objection to the City’s decision and that too had been declined.

Mr Healley said his client had started looking for new premises in October and had since signed a lease and would be out of the Blaauwberg Road premises by the end of March.

But Dynamic Academy was open at the same premises when the new school term started last week.

Ms Pronk accused Mr Campos of breaking the law by continuing to run the school after being instructed by the City to stop.

“I am at a loss of words that a person, who was voted in as the Sector 1 general manager for Table View Neighbourhood Watch, can blatantly disregard the law, when his own hands are not clean,” she said.

TVNW chairman Grant Lemos said the watch was unaware of any unhappiness surrounding Mr Campos’s private business activities.

“TVNW volunteers are not permitted to financially gain or benefit in any way from the neighbourhood watch. This is written in our constitution, and the rule applies to all volunteers in the neighbourhood watch structure. Because of this, volunteers generally don’t discuss their private business with other volunteers on the road openly.

“There are laws in place, which protect our volunteers’ right to privacy in this regard. Each volunteer renews their membership yearly, which includes ensuring that their criminal records are clear,” said Mr Lemos.

He said Mr Campos had informed him that Dynamic Academy had already moved premises and would be starting the new term in at a new venue.

Jeanette Sly lives next to Dynamic Academy and says she has had problems with it.

Litter, such as broken rulers, pens, cooldrink cans and cigarette butts, had been flung over the wall into her garden and she had complained to Mr Campos, she said.

“Children should not be smoking at school or at all. The language you hear is also horrific sometimes,” she said.

One morning she had caught two pupils peering over her wall while she had been standing in her garden in her pyjamas, she said.

Terri Love, a parent of an ex-pupil of Dynamic Academy, said her son had completed Grades 10 and 11 at the centre. She said the children worked with the Impaq curriculum with the help of a teacher but that the “onus ultimately falls on the children to do the work”.

She said there had been about 30 children at the centre while her son had been there.

Dynamic Academy had been a total waste of money, said Ms Love. She claimed there had been constant fights at the school and “smoke breaks”.

She also said Mr Campos swore at the children a lot.

“One of my son’s friends failed matric there. He said he got things in the exam that he never worked on at the centre,” she said.

Charlene Crous, from Impaq, said Dynamic Academy was registered as a tutor with them, allowing it to use Impaq products and services to assist home-schooled pupils.

“This is not a registered private, public or independent school that has been registered with the Department of Education. They provide additional service and tutoring to learners for parents who wish to home educate their children,” said Ms Crous.

Western Cape Education Department (WCED) spokeswoman Millicent Merton said an official would visit Dynamic Academy to determine whether it was in fact functioning as a school. If so, the institution would have to register as an independent school she said.

“An institution may function as a tutor centre providing assistance to any learner, whether from a public or independent school, and is not regulated by any legislation. However, such tutoring service is only to assist learners with certain areas of the curriculum, e.g. maths or English. The onus is on the parents to ensure that the tutors have the necessary skills to offer such support,” she said.

Neither Mr Campos nor his lawyer replied to specific questions Tabletalk sent about the allegations that Mr Campos swore at the pupils and allowed them smoke breaks.