The National Association of School Governing Bodies (NASGB) has criticised the Gauteng Department of Education and other parties for neglecting to expedite school infrastructure development projects.
The association’s concerns were raised after it was revealed that the Gauteng province had failed to complete 20 school infrastructural development projects on time, leaving several students in limbo.
NASGB chairperson Matankanye Matakanye said the crisis was prevalent across the country.
“This issue has a significant impact on working-class schools, township schools, rural schools, and deep rural schools throughout the nation, particularly among the poor,” he said.
In certain instances in other provinces, parents have reported infrastructure issues at their children’s schools to the Public Protector and South African Human Rights Commission. Others have petitioned the court to compel the education authorities to repair the dilapidated school grounds.
“This demonstrates the government’s failure to fulfill its responsibilities. By failing to expedite the process of school infrastructure development, the department of education has failed the poor, and blacks in particular,” Matakanye said.
He added that the department’s inability to do the right thing proved that corruption persisted in the education sector.
African Times reported that the department failed to repair the Johannesburg-based Nokuthula Special School, allegedly constructed on a wetland area.
Parents who spoke with this publication disclosed that the school’s male hostel was submerged and posed a threat to the students.
“We felt compelled to take our children home because there was a massive sinkhole in one of the hostel rooms,” said a parent who did not wish to be identified out of concern that his child, who was still a student at the school, could be targeted.
Democratic Alliance Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education, Khume Ramulifho, recently disclosed that among the unfinished infrastructure projects are those of the Nanciefield, Hillcrest, Mayibuye Primary Schools, and Thorntree Primary School in Soshanguve, which face severe overcrowding with 77 learners in a single mobile classroom.
Gauteng education department spokesperson Steve Mabona has not yet responded to the media questions sent to him.
Meanwhile, in Mpumalanga, the department allegedly neglected to renovate the Lamulelani Secondary School in Marite, Bushbuckridge.
In 2018, service delivery protestors torched the school’s buildings. When the Public Protector investigated the matter, the department began building the school.
Justice Mkhonto, chairman of the School Governing Body at Lamulelani Secondary School, confirmed:
“I have also heard that the Public Protector is investigating. Perhaps it’s a coincidence, but now that the department is building the school, we are pleased to see progress.”
Mpumalanga education department spokesperson Jasper Zwane confirmed that protests negatively affected Lamulelani School.
“To this end, the department wishes to put the record straight. In 2016, the community of Marite embarked on a protracted protest demanding the construction of tarred road infrastructure. During that protest, several schools were damaged, including Lamulelani Secondary School,” Zwane said.
“Lamulelani Secondary School was severely damaged, with several classes, ablution facilities, and the administration block destroyed.”