Needy school to finally get much-needed facelift

2009-03-03 00:00

The McCarthy Primary School was officially handed over to a new building contractor in Tamboville, yesterday.

The school has been waiting for a facelift since 2004.

The Education Department confirmed that the new contractor will be starting construction in seven days after all building materials and equipment have been delivered to the site.

The school has 632 pupils, many of whom are orphans and victims of abuse.

They share 18 teachers among their 13 corrugated iron classrooms.

Teachers have complained about constantly being sick as a result of their abnormal working environment.

They teach in makeshift, windowless classrooms made of corrugated iron and are forced to walk around in gumboots to avoid the mud.

On rainy days, classrooms are flooded with water as a result of the digging that was started by a contractor in 2004.

Speaking to The Witness yesterday, department spokeswoman Mbali Thusi said the department never made any empty promises to the school.

Thusi said the building of the school remains close to Education MEC Ina Cronje’s heart.

“People need to understand that we are required to follow procedure to be able to procure services as outlined by the CCMA,” Thusi said.

“We advertised the tender and it gets gazetted before it can be awarded to a contractor, all that takes time. Unfortunately, the contractor defaulted and we had to start the process all over again.”

She could not say why the contractor was not able to finish the work, but said the department was notified by their implementing agency on this project, Ithala Bank, that the contractor was not going to meet the set target.

She added that because of obligation, they could not just terminate the contract without following procedure.

“I also want to point out that we are working on delivering mobile classroom schools for schools that were damaged as a result of storms. There are only three manufacturers in the whole country and as you can imagine they are not always readily available.”

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