Patience bears fruit

2018-01-23 06:01
Local Education Department officials were present to take ownership of the school from construction officials on Wednesday.PHOTO: Samantha lee

Local Education Department officials were present to take ownership of the school from construction officials on Wednesday.PHOTO: Samantha lee

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In the face of adversity, perseverance prevails.

It is this phrase that lends itself to the name of a new mobile school in Tafelsig, seven years in the making.

Synonymous with murders, shootings, robberies and stabbings, the plot in Rockies Street now represents a symbol of hope, catering to 360 local children.

The City of Cape Town-owned land was identified by ward 82 councillor Sheval Arendse as a site for a high school in 2010 and in November last year a decision was made to build two schools on the plot.

“I identified the site for the high school because there were six primary schools at that time. The department decided they would give us a primary and high school. Initially I motioned to have the site signed over to public works for one school and now we are getting two, so we are happy,” he says. “There are several early childhood development centres opening all the time and [that speaks to the need for schools], because from there the children need to go to school.”

Arendse adds that parents often come to his office looking for space for their children and this mobile school will help provide a solution.

Construction company RICTS Holdings broke ground on Monday 27 November and although the school will only be available to occupy in February, the official handover took place on Wednesday 17 January. Steve Janssen chief operations officer (COO) for RICTS says the project was not without its challenges.

“The most challenging part of the construction was that it had to take place during the industry shut-down period, with all the suppliers closing for the holidays,” says Janssen.

“We had major supply constraints with the stores only opening this Monday (15 January), so some of our materials that was needed immediately had to be trucked in,” says Operations Manager Schalk van Jaarsveld.

The school has also created temporary employment opportunities for residents who were hired as security staff, ensuring the safety of the property during and after construction.

The school consists of nine classrooms, a kitchen, two ablution block, an admin block and a storage container that will accommodate grades 1 to 3.

“At our first meeting, more than 300 children had already been allocated for the school so we knew that by opening of the school year, there were already children that needed to start,” says Van ­Jaarsveld.

“We could not have done this without the support of the councillor and the community. In Tafelsig there is so much shootings and violence going on and it is considered a red zone and we have had no incidents or problems at the site.”

Western Cape Education Department district director, Glen Van Harte says the classrooms will be moved once construction of the High School is completed on the neighbouring plot.

The formal construction of the permanent primary school will then follow.

These schools are set to be completed in 2019, with the addition of another high school in Beacon Valley.

Each school costs around R60m to build and ground will break by September 2019.

“This is a school established out of the need for additional primary schools in the district. We have 2000 children that need placement in the district. This school can accommodate 360 children and 360 children will be placed here,” he says.

The school should be ready for occupation by Thursday 1 February as they are waiting for school teaching support materials and furniture. No water or electrical connection has been completed yet but generators, chemical toilets and water coolers have been brought in temporarily to ensure occupation can take effect, until clearances for the connections are received from council.

Van Harte says they are also in the process of completing the staffing as they still needed seven teachers at the date of the handover. Two heads of departments and a school principal have been appointed at the school until more permanent appointments have been made at the formal school.

V Continued on page 2.

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