In the 2022 Budget speech, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana announced that a provincial allocation of R17.5 billion had been set aside for infrastructure projects for the Education Department.
The department has a number of documented initiatives that are aimed at resolving the longstanding school infrastructure issue and the construction of its schools. One of these initiatives includes the Sanitation Appropriate For Education (SAFE) programme.
Since the launch of this initiative in August 2018, the department has confirmed to have already progressed to practical completion in about 1 700 schools and has set a target of 2 800 schools in the country.
In an interview, the department shared:
We are well on our way to reaching our target of completing appropriate school infrastructure by the end of this financial year.
The building of schools is also taking place and it is progressing in every province, with a school being handed over to the communities, shared DBE spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga. This comes after an outcry from education activists, urging the government to treat the issue of school infrastructure with urgency.
The Education Department has acknowledged that there is a huge backlog challenge, and a lot of work needs to be done. Another step that the department took earlier was to review both the SAFE and Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI) programmes.
It has been reported that the Education Department will also be monitoring these projects by visiting schools as part of its initiatives.
Later this year, Godongwana will be tabling amendments to the 2022 division of the Revenue Amendment Bill to enable provinces to pledge their infrastructure grants and to leverage more financing to fast-track the rollout of infrastructure.