South Africa: Renovations At Dilapidated Tulbagh School Fast Tracked

13 September 2019

Learners taught in school hall until new classrooms are built

Parents and learners at Waveren High in Tulbagh have called off their protests. They have welcomed a move by the provincial education department to fast track work on their dilapidated school.

Last month dozens of people, including young children from the community, shut down Waveren for a few days to demand that the school be renovated. At issue is classrooms made up of "plankie" building materials which deteriorate over time and are easily damaged by adverse weather.

Parents also complained that the school had broken windows, no running water or working toilets, and asbestos contamination through dilapidated ceiling boards.

At the time,, spokesperson for the department, Bronagh Hammond, said that repair work on the school would start in October and that construction to replace the "plankie" classrooms and a hall would be only be completed in 2022.

Gavin Buttress, chairperson of the school governing body, said on Wednesday that after meeting with the department's Juan Benjamin on 26 August, it was agreed that mobile classrooms would be erected within six to eight weeks.

"The dilapidated classrooms will be barricaded and Department of Public Works will do repairs where needed and make the classrooms safe again ... Everybody agrees that the school is in a bad state," he said.

Buttress said that in the meantime, learners have been moved to other rooms on the property and the school's hall until the mobile units arrive.

Hammond said construction on the "plankie" buildings will start next year. She said that Public Works was currently at the school to fix immediate repairs and maintenance needs. She the province reviewed the school and will demolish classrooms that were originally only going to be demolished next yeaar. "Five mobile classrooms will be built in the interim to house learners from the demolished classrooms," she said.

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