The Department of Basic Education in the Eastern Cape has seemingly pulled the plug on the rebuilding of Lingcom Primary School in Graaff-Reinet, midway through the job. See pictures attached here, here, here and here.
This has left the learners of the school squeezed into temporary classrooms, with up to 114 learners in some combined classes. Construction on the new school buildings commenced two years ago following the demolition of almost half of the existing school. The new office block and classrooms to house the junior primary learners were already built to floor height when the contractor downed tools due to non-payment.
Aside from the danger that exists with 758 learners on a construction site, the school has lost its computer room, science lab, kitchen, staff room, staff toilets and offices, many of which are having to be housed in makeshift facilities or doubling up as classrooms. Electricity supply is problematic and the main water supply is via a plastic pipe from the municipal feed which is regularly vandalized by animals looking for water in this drought-stricken area.
The contractor has done no work since June 2018 with the result that hoarding, poles, bricks and other materials are being stolen from the site, further contributing to the unsafe conditions for the children.
Neither the Department of Public Works nor the Department of Basic Education has provided any information as to whether or not the project will be proceeding. I have drafted questions to the Minister of Basic Education in this regard and questions have been asked by the Democratic Alliance of the Eastern Cape MEC’s of Basic Education and Public Works but we are still waiting for proper feedback.
It is absolutely appalling that the ANC government care so little about the learners of Lingcom Primary School. While these children are forced to endure cramped conditions, limited ablutions, dust blowing into their classrooms and an unsafe environment, nobody can provide answers as to what has happened to the budget allocated for this project or if the project will ever be completed.
The DA has also been running a petition in the community affected by the situation at the school. I will shortly submit this petition to the Office of the Speaker in the Bhisho legislature.
The children, parents and teachers of Lingcom Primary School deserve better. They deserve the service delivery that can only be achieved by the Democratic Alliance.
The DA will continue to fight for the building of Lingcom Primary School.
Samantha Graham-Maré, MP
Dr Beyers Naude Constituency Leader
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