Dept explains why 23 Vuwani schools have still not been repaired

A school that was set alight during protests in Vuwani, Limpopo. (News24 Correspondent)
A school that was set alight during protests in Vuwani, Limpopo. (News24 Correspondent)

The Limpopo education department has said that 23 schools that still need to be repaired after protests in Vuwani in 2016 will not get special treatment over those that need improvement in the province.

The department's comments come after the DA wrote to the provincial legislature to demand that it explain why only eight of 31 schools torched in Vuwani had been rebuilt.

Violence erupted in the area after the Municipal Demarcation Board recommended that the Malamulele and Vuwani municipalities be merged. Residents turned their anger towards 31 schools and torched them. They also prevented pupils from attending school.

The department confirmed in a written statement to the DA that R177m was allocated in the 2016/17 financial year to fix schools damaged by storms or destroyed in protest action. 

DA provincial leader Jack Smalle said in a statement that the contract for the rebuilding of the schools was only awarded in February last year. He said it was astonishing that more than a year later, only eight schools had been attended to.

"The DA can confirm that the Department of Public Works, Roads and Infrastructure has conducted an assessment that estimated the damages to all 31 schools was worth R177.5m, however, the assessment report further indicated that the upgrades and maintenance required [at] the same schools, including the riot damages, amounted to R462m," said Smalle.


One of the schools burnt during protests in Vuwani (Chester Makana, News24)

"It is clear that the ANC-led government has utterly failed the children of Vuwani once again," he added.

Departmental spokesperson Sam Makondo confirmed to News24 that funds were allocated to the province, but it was not specifically for the Vuwani schools. He said the money was to repair 68 damaged schools across the province.

"The work is ongoing. Some schools will be demolished, others will be in need of refurbishment," said Makondo.
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