Mud schools to get millions rand revamp

2011-02-05 18:47

It has taken all of 17 years, but the pupils and staff at Tembeni Senior Primary School have finally been guaranteed a proper school.

On Friday afternoon the Eastern Cape department of education reached an R8-billion out-of-court settlement with seven schools, of which Tembeni is one.

The schools had taken the ­department to court to force it to provide adequate resources.

Most of the schools were built from mud and lacked the most ­basic resources.

The announcement of the deal comes a few months after an eye-opening City Press expose last year on the plight of these schools and several others which were ­destroyed by tornadoes in 2009 and not rebuilt.

Last week, City Press published an extensive article on the tornado-damaged schools of Eastern Cape, showing pictures of pupils being taught in the open as there are no school buildings.

In their founding affidavit, the seven schools stated that there was little or no protection from the elements for learners and they all lacked access to proper water.

In terms of the agreement the government has committed R8.2 billion from April 1 2011 to March 1 2014 to replace inadequate structures, including mud structures, at schools throughout South Africa and to provide basic services to those schools.

Of this amount the government has committed R6,36 billion to Eastern Cape for the eradication of inadequate structures and to provide basic services.

For the 2011/2012 financial year the allocation of funds for the ­seven schools will be:
»Nomandla Senior Primary School – R13 million;

»Tembeni Senior Primary School – R10 million;

»Madwaleni Senior Primary School – R13 million;

»Sidanda Senior Primary School – R13.5 million;

»Nkonkoni Senior Primary School – R11.4 million;

»Maphindela Senior Primary School – R13 million; and

»Sompa Senior Primary School – R10 million.

Ann Skelton, director of the Centre for Child Law who took up the schools case, said yesterday although only seven schools had brought a case against the department, they were fighting on behalf of all inadequate schools.

“It means that finally when the process is completed the children will be taught in decent schools. It is what they should have had all along. We were simply getting their basic rights for them.

“There have been promises before, but now I have more faith that it will happen,” Skelton said.

Sarah Shepton from the Legal Resources Centre in Grahams-town, acting on behalf of the ­Centre for Child Law, said: “Our clients are relieved and delighted with the outcome of the litigation and intend to keep a close eye on the developments, so that promises are not broken.”

Granville Whittle, director of communications in the department of basic education, said the national department would take over the responsibility of providing infrastructure to schools in dire need, as part of its accelerated school infrastructural development initiative.

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