School maintenance ‘a mess’

2016-08-30 06:00
Portia Hector, a parent, says they have been trying to get answers from the department of public works about the upgrades at the school with no luck. Most of the upgraded items are not working properly. PHOTOs: TIYESE JERANJI

Portia Hector, a parent, says they have been trying to get answers from the department of public works about the upgrades at the school with no luck. Most of the upgraded items are not working properly. PHOTOs: TIYESE JERANJI

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Square Hill Primary School learners, teachers and the parents were over the moon when they heard that their school has been ear marked for a life cycle maintenance.

The 49-year-old school was dilapidated and the department of public works said maintenance would be done in the 2013/14 financial year.

However, the work only started in July last year and was supposed to end by December. But numerous things have been left unfinished.

Portia Hector, parent and school governing body member, says: “Our school is worse than what it was before we were promised the life cycle maintenance. A lot of things are wrong. Yes, the department came but they did a shoddy job. In some of the areas that they painted the paint is peeling off. The tiling wasn’t done properly. We have been waiting for answers and at least people to come fix it but it looks like we are waiting in vain.”

Lavina Davids, school principal, says she doesn’t know what to tell the parents any more. “The parents keep asking me when the school will be completed. I don’t know what to say any more. Toilets are our major issue. We have two sets of toilets used by the whole school (that) are also not up to standard. (It’s) leaking and there is always water on the floor. Most of the times (the toilets) are blocked. We can’t run a school like this,” she says.

Davids says there is no communication from the department. “There seems to be a communication breakdown with the contractors and the department. They never gave us specifics on the things that they will be working on but those that they did are so bad,” she says.

Hector adds: “We pay fees. Our kids have to suffer like this. It’s dangerous, our kids can get hurt. We have sent emails but there is no answer, we had a meeting recently but after that it went quiet so we really don’t know what’s happening,” she says.

Philip Africa, general foreman at the school says they have to fix things over and over. “The walls are getting messed up because urine is coming out. I try to fix where I can but it becomes difficult when the job was not well done from the start. I have to unblock the toilets all the time.”

Byron La Hoe, spokesperson for department public works and transport, confirms the contract formed part of the Lifecycle Maintenance Programme, identified by the education department in the 2013/14 financial year. “It was and planned and put out to tender in the 2015/16 financial year. The contractor went back to site on 10 August to address the list of defects. Work is under way. The contractor is on site and progressing with the works completion items. The contractor is scheduled to finish the work in mid-October.”

Davids confirmed to People’s Post yesterday (Monday) that after the site meeting to address defects, the contractor worked for half a day fixing the toilets and removed a pipe. “They haven’t come back after that.”

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