The Eastern Cape Department of Education is denying the learners of the Mcheni Junior Primary School near Tsolo their basic human right to a safe learning environment.
Yesterday, 27 August 2019, I was joined by OR Tambo Constituency Leader, Mlindi Nhanha, MP, and local councillors in conducting an oversight inspection at the school.
I was shocked to find that learning is expected to take place in dilapidated mud structures without doors, windows and, in some cases, even roofs. Old, rundown shacks are also being used as classrooms. There is no running water and children have to relieve themselves in nearby bushes.
This school provides learning to 260 children and employs 9 educators.
In 2011 the Eastern Cape Department of Education began constructing a new school building, to the tune of R17 million, but the contractor left in 2013 without completing the job. Since then the top structure has separated from the foundation and dangerous cracks have appeared in the walls. For fear of the school collapsing on educators and learners, the building has not been in use since 2016.
The construction company also left building rubble and holes in the area, and two educators have already sustained injuries due to this dangerous situation.
In 2011 the ANC promised there would be no more mud schools by 2018.The national department of Basic Education set aside R11-billion in 2011 to replace 530 mud schools in the province.
In 2018 there were still 436 mud schools operational in the province, with an estimated additional price tag of R16,9 billion. The Eastern Cape Education Department estimates that the eradication of mud schools will now only be a reality in 2022.
In the DA governed Western Cape mud schools have been eradicated and all children have a save learning environment.
I have instructed the DA’s Shadow MEC for Education, Yusuf Cassim, MPL, to write to the MEC for Education, Fundile Gade, and to request his immediate intervention.
We will also take this matter up in parliament.
Only a DA-government can ensure a safe and clean learning environment that will protect our children’s constitutional right to a quality basic education.
Nqaba Bhanga, MPL
DA Eastern Cape Provincial Leader
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