Gauteng Must Address Conditions at Sizwe Secondary School

Mike Waters MP

DA Shadow Minister of Social Development

The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) needs to urgently address the conditions at Sizwe Secondary School in Elandsfontein. This follows a recent visit to the school by ward Councillor, Graham Gersbach, and I to assess the progress made since January 2010 when I wrote to the MEC of Education highlighting the dire situation at the school.

Despite the many challenges, principal of Sizwe Secondary, Mr Cele, has managed to increase the matric pass rate from 42% in 2009 to 56.6% in 2011. However, it would appear that the GDE continues to ignore the many pressing problems which are impacting on the quality of education being delivered at this school. Sizwe Secondary currently has 1000 pupils and 33 academic staff, including the principal.

With the exception of the delivery of seven mobile classrooms, the GDE has failed to address the following issues for over two years:

* The school is in serious need of maintenance: several class rooms’ roofs as well as the hall roof are leaking, the gutters are rotten and there are no tiles on the floors in most classrooms with holes of varying depths which pose a safety hazard to learners.

* The central heating is still broken,

* The roofs need painting.

* The school still had a septic tank system and urgently needed its toilets to be connected to the main sewer line. On several occasions the sewerage has overflowed and flooded parts of the school. Apart from the obvious health risks it also makes teaching impossible.

* There are only 13 very old computers at the school for the 1000 learners.

* There is no library.

* There is only one science laboratory for 1000 learners.

* The staffroom is used as an office for teachers and Heads of Departments use storage rooms as offices.

* Lastly the school has no usable sporting facilities; this includes an overgrown netball court with broken nets, the remnants of an outdoor volleyball court and a patchy football field which is regularly flooded due to its location on the edge of a wetland.

* There is also water leaking in from the pavement into the corner of the property which both the school and Councillor Gersbach have reported repeatedly over a number of months, to no avail.

The DA is encouraged by successful public-private partnerships that have resulted much needed maintenance and delivery at the school. The most heartening of these is a local company called Robor who built three brick classrooms and two desperately needed ablution blocks and provided the re-wiring and painting of the entire school. Robor have also pledged money to build the school a much needed library.

However, conditions at the school remain unacceptable and it is time that the GDE took responsibility. As such, I will be writing to the MEC of Education, Barbara Creecy, to highlight these concerns once again and call on her to take immediate action.

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