By Khume Ramulifho MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education:
Learners at Noordgesig Primary School in Soweto will only see renovations at their school completed next year, despite millions being budgeted to fix up the school since the 2010/11 financial year.
A 6-year wait to repair basic structures at the school equals 6 years of class disruptions for both learners and teachers.
In a reply to a DA question, the MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi, revealed that since the 2010/11 financial year the department has budgeted just over R2 million for repairs and restoration at the school – and to date a total of R3,387 million was paid out to a consultancy firm and project contractor.
Not much has been done at the school despite the fact that close to R4 million has been allocated from a budget of just under R6 million over a 6-year period.
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What is even more alarming is the fact that the DA has in its possession a copy of the original contract which states that the contractor awarded with the tender received an astounding R17,8 million.
The department reported that construction at the school was completed in August of 2015 and had started renovations in November 2014.
The figures clearly do not add up and warrants an urgent investigation.
This also begs the question as to what happened to these funds and how it is possible that money allocated for renovations at Noordgesig could simply vanish.
How can it be possible to pay service providers for services delivered that are incomplete?
The total allocation for one medium sized school of 1576 learners to be rehabilitated by replacing asbestos classrooms with brick and mortar structures can simply not run into these millions, and over such an extended period.
Thousands of learners’ education has been disrupted due to the lack of urgency to have the school completely renovated within a year or two.
I shall write to the Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, to investigate this matter and to track down the R17.8 million allocated to Noordgesig.
Those implicated in this scandal must be prosecuted with the full extent of the law.
The DA will be monitoring the progress or lack thereof of the renovations at Noordgesig, as this matter is completely unacceptable while learners continue to attend a school that is near to falling apart.