Pro­tes­ters de­cry dept’s fai­lu­re to fix schools

Graaff-Reinet Advertiser - - Voorblad -

The com­mu­ni­ty of Kroon­va­le mar­ched to the De­part­ment of E­du­ca­ti­on’s dis­trict of­fi­ces in Graaff-rei­net on T­hurs­day mor­ning, 27 Sep­tem­ber, to pro­test a­gainst the hor­ren­dous con­di­ti­ons at As­her­vil­le Se­con­da­ry and Ling­com P­ri­ma­ry schools.

Te­a­chers, com­mu­ni­ty le­a­ders and pa­rents from the­se schools are up in arms af­ter con­trac­tors, sub-con­trac­tors and con­sul­tants who we­re tas­ked with the up­gra­des at the­se schools a­bando­ned the si­tes af­ter not being paid for 15 mont­hs, with ma­ny being for­ced to re­trench wor­kers, as t­hey are o­wed in ex­cess of R4.2 mil­li­on.

In the me­an­ti­me, child­ren are for­ced to use o­ver­cro­w­ded, di­la­pi­da­ted class­rooms, with li­mi­ted or no access to bathrooms, w­hi­le the ad­ja­cent work si­te stands va­cant.

Ward 5’s coun­cil­lor, G­len­da Mac­ke­li­na, is ap­pal­led by the cur­rent le­ar­ning con­di­ti­ons at the­se schools.

She said the con­structi­on si­te at Ling­com P­ri­ma­ry is a sa­fe­ty ha­zard for its young le­ar­ners.

“The child­ren are playing on the con­structi­on si­te, u­na­wa­re of the mul­ti­tu­de of dan­gers sur­roun­ding them. The de­part­ment needs to act im­me­di­a­te­ly be­fo­re a child is se­ri­ous­ly in­ju­red. If t­hings con­ti­nue the way t­hey are now, it is just a mat­ter of ti­me be­fo­re so­meo­ne gets hurt,” said a con­cer­ned Mac­ke­li­na.

Du­ring the pro­test, Mac­ke­li­na and PR coun­ci­lor Da­ni­ël Wil­li­ams pre­sen­ted a me­mo­ran­dum to Nic­ky de Bruyn, of­fi­ce ma­na­ger at the De­part­ment of E­du­ca­ti­on’s dis­trict of­fi­ce in Graaff-rei­net.

The ex­chan­ge of the me­mo­ran­dum, ho­we­ver, was do­ne through a loc­ked mo­tor ga­te.

De Bruyn sig­ned the me­mo­ran­dum and com­mit­ted to fol­low-up on pre­vi­ous com­mu­ni­ca­ti­ons be­t­ween their of­fi­ce and the De­part­ment of E­du­ca­ti­on’s pro­vin­ci­al de­part­ment in this re­gard.

De­part­ment to pay ser­vi­ce pro­vi­ders af­ter au­dit

W­hen que­ried a­bout this is­sue, Loyi­so Pu­lu­ma­ni, the spo­kes­per­son for the Eas­tern Ca­pe De­part­ment of E­du­ca­ti­on, said that an au­dit had to be con­ducted be­fo­re the de­part­ment can pro­cess any pay­ments re­la­ting to the work at the two schools af­fected.

He furt­her sta­ted that the de­part­ment has com­mit­ted to at­tend to pay­ments as soon as t­hey we­re pro­ces­sed as from 25 Sep­tem­ber.

“I am the­re­fo­re fai­r­ly con­fi­dent that this P­ho­to: Ja­son Mil­ford

out­co­me will e­na­ble the ser­vi­ce pro­vi­ders to be paid, and the­re­fo­re re­turn to the si­te to con­ti­nue with the out­stan­ding work,” said Pu­lu­ma­ni.

See a vi­deo at www.graaff­rei­ne­t­ad­ver­ti­ Pro­tes­ters mar­ching to the De­part­ment of E­du­ca­ti­on dis­trict of­fi­ces in Graaff-rei­net.

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