KWAZULU-NATAL Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu looking through a door that was broken. Picture: Supplied
KWAZULU-NATAL Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu looking through a door that was broken. Picture: Supplied

More than R100m for KZN Education to repair civil unrest damage

By Thobeka Ngema Time of article published Aug 4, 2021

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DURBAN - INFRASTRUCTURE damage caused during the civil unrest has added pressure to the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education, which already had a backlog of repairs to schools that had been damaged in the past by criminal elements and inclement weather conditions.

On Tuesday, the department briefed the portfolio committee on basic education on the impact of damages to schools caused by unrest.

Acting head of department Dr Barney Mthembu said before the physical verification, they had 137 schools but, after verification, it totalled 144. Mthembu said 82 are primary schools and 62 are secondary/high schools.

The most affected secondary/high schools were in Umgungundlovu and Ugu districts, while the most affected primary schools were in King Cetshwayo, Ugu, Umgungundlovu, and Pinetown districts.

“We also found that 130 schools need repairs below R500 000. The remaining 14 exceeded this amount,” said Mthembu.

The total cost of repairs is estimated at R100 362 000 million. Umgungundlovu R38.6m, Ilembe R35.2m, and Pinetown R14.9m, accounted for most of the damages.

School property most commonly affected were damaged roofs, toilets, damage and theft of school doors, theft of copper and electricity pipes, theft of building material, stolen computers, damaged school fences, stolen and broken windows, schools set on fire and theft of school nutrition equipment and food items.

In the Pinetown district, Siphosethu Primary School lost three classrooms, in Umgungundlovu district, Sikhululiwe Secondary School lost eight classrooms and in Ilembe district, Radha Roopsingh Primary School lost seven classrooms to fires.

“We procured 18 mobile classrooms and they were delivered from Friday until Sunday, and by Monday the schools were ready to function with these makeshift structures,” said Mthembu.

He added that the National School Nutrition Programme also suffered, after thousands of plates, more than 1 000 spoons, and nearly 100 pots were stolen.

“We found that some of the schools lost stoves and had an urgent procurement of 20 stoves,” said Mthembu.

Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu said the weeks of unrest completely collapsed the province’s matric intervention winter programme that they normally had, which they had planned to proceed with during the holidays, because they had to cancel everything to prioritise safety.

“The infrastructure damage that has been suffered adds on to the already existing backlog of schools that have been damaged in the past by criminal elements and schools that have been damaged by inclement weather conditions, which we have not been able to repair as a department, precisely because of the shortage of funds,” said Mshengu.

He added that budget cuts in the past financial years, and the current one, made things worse for the department.

Daily News

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