Safe river crossing soon for pupils

2013-04-22 00:00

AN exposé by The Witness earlier this year means that pupils of a school in the Greytown area, who daily wade through a river to get to class, will soon get a road and bridge to connect them to their school.

On Wednesday, the management of Ekhamanzi School, community representatives and the Transport Department held a meeting to negotiate with land owners to build the road and bridge on their land.

“We had a meeting and the land owners have finally agreed that the road could be built on the land,” said school principal Bongani Ngubane.

“The Transport Department said the road could be constructed this financial year, but they were not sure when the bridge would be completed as its cost could run up to R5 million.”

The Witness reported earlier this year that 200 of the school’s 500 pupils live across the Khamanzi River, which they cross on their way to and from school.

The pupils, some as young as six, take off their clothing to cross. In the rainy season, the water sometimes rises up to their necks.

“They also walk through dense bush and climb a steep, rocky mountain that is out of sight from the nearby homes.

“Right now there is still no way for them to cross the river safely, so we have told them not to come to school when it is raining,” Ngubane said.

Three of five classrooms damaged by a storm in December last year are yet to be repaired.

Ngubane said local farmers had repaired the other two.

The Education Department’s Sihle Mlotshwa said he would have to investigate the delay in repairing the classes.

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