South Africa: Education Department Apologises for School Building Bungles

The Eastern Cape Department of Education this week apologised to learners at a primary school that was meant to be rebuilt in 2017, after pictures went viral of them writing their exams outside dilapidated mud classrooms. The department was also hit with a court order compelling it to fix another school's toilets - something it had failed to do so since 2013.

"Delivery of schools' infrastructure in the Eastern Cape is a complex undertaking with many different role-players involved. In terms of the Provincial Infrastructure Delivery Framework, the Department of Education uses implementing agents and only implements a limited number of maintenance projects itself," department spokesperson Malibongwe Mtima said.

According to the department, the construction of a new school building for children from Mhlontlo, Ntywenka Village near Tsolo had to be abandoned due to "geological challenges" and the delivery of prefabricated classrooms and bathrooms for use in the interim never happened.

He said the construction of the new Mcheni Junior Secondary School, valued at more than R20-million, began in 2017.

"The school was 60% completed when it had to be stopped due to structural...

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