Department is Concerned About Delay in School Infrastructure Projects

The Education Department and the Portfolio Committee are concerned about the delays in the school infrastructure projects. The Department and the departmental divisions across the different provinces are discussing implementing a penalty to hold the agents causing the delays accountable. 

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Schools across South Africa has heard thousands of promises from the Department of Basic Education, that they will receive the infrastructure upgrades they need for a safe and more sanitary institution. 

On countless occasions has the department delayed the process of implementing the the changes that schools need to be improved. 

The Education Department has been called out to manage these delays so that the parties involved in the delays can be held accountable, as the infrastructure upgrades are much-needed, especially in the poorer areas of the country. 

The Portfolio Committee has been in meetings with the Department of Basic Education to discuss the issues of the ongoing project. They aim to develop long term solutions to these issues and ensure that the delays do not continue as they have been. 

During the meeting, the committee has also claimed that the Department of Education and departments across all the provinces need to strengthen and standardise their service level agreements. 

They also need to attain a built in penalty mechanism to hold implementing agents accountable for any delays in delivering on infrastructure projects. This will hopefully ensure a less delayed process of upgrading the infrastructure as needed. 

 Committee chairperson, Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba says:

The incessant delays have an unwarranted and unacceptable impact on the mandate to deliver on the constitutional promise of quality education to all. The committee is of the view that having legally sound regulatory frameworks in place will ensure accountability.

The Committee has called all provincial department to evaluate and monitor, along with consistently enforcing  consequences of management against implementing agents, to enforce accountability. This is because most implemented agents are part of the Department of Public work, making it "difficult to build in risk mechanisms to hold Public Works to account”.

Though there has been a request to increase funding for school infrastructure, it is realized that the reason the constant backlog and request for funding increases is actually a result of the delay of the projects. 

Mbinqo-Gigaba explains:

The committee was informed that there is approximately 20% of cost escalation year-on-year for every delayed project. This is concerning in the context that there is currently insufficient budget to eradicate the backlog

The Committee urges other provinces to share good and innovative ideas with the rest of the country to ensure that the project gets done efficiently and quickly, without over spending.  

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