Huge repair bill for schools following Cape storms and fires

The Promenade in Cape Town.  (Jan Cronje, News24 Correspondent)
The Promenade in Cape Town. (Jan Cronje, News24 Correspondent)

Cape Town - Last week's Cape storm and the inferno which hit the Southern Cape have resulted in damages worth an estimated R124m to schools across the province, Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schafer said on Monday.

Extreme weather on June 14 saw 170 schools damaged, while two others were damaged in the Knysna fires.

"The extent of damage at each school varies but includes roof damage at 102 schools, damage to fences at 27 schools, structural damage at 14 schools and damage to mobile classrooms at four schools. Schools have also reported other damages which include fire damage, fallen trees and damage to electrical components," Schafer said in a statement.

The remedial costs amount has not yet been finalised as role-players are still visiting some schools.

"Our priority was to make schools operational as soon as possible, where possible. Officials that visited schools immediately took action in ensuring that where possible, school sites were made safe for use so that learning and teaching can continue with limited interference," she said.

"A total of 55 schools that were visited for inspection were immediately repaired which means that learning and teaching could resume almost immediately."

READ: Most schools re-opened after Cape Town storm

Corporate donors

Contractors had been procured by the department of transport and public works for reparation works at 27 schools. The last of the school visits took place on Monday, after which further contractors will be secured.

The damaged mobile units will also be repaired or replaced, Schafer explained.

"Thirteen schools that are on leased land were damaged in the storm. The [departments] have ensured that all leased schools that reported storm damage were visited and made safe," she said.

"The WCED contacted the owners to advise them of the damage and request that they make the necessary repairs... The WCED will monitor this process."

READ: Devastation and then a miracle - #Knysna fires

Schools which suffered minor damage or where the damage didn't affect teaching at the schools would be advised to make use of their Norms and Standards Funding, Schafer said.

Corporate donors have also offered to assist, she added.

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