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SAHRC Steps In To Solve Issues Faced By R82m School

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has intervened after learning of an R82 million school that was supposedly built on a wetland. Mayibuye Primary School in Tembisa, has been unoccupied for 3 years and the SAHRC wants answers.

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The SAHRC has clarified that the school was not built on a wetland, but rather near a leaking sewage line. The commission met with the Gauteng Department of Education, the Department of Infrastructure Development (DID) and the City of Johannesburg to find a way forward for the school.

"The sewage leakage is continuously running, and this is something that really concerns us given that this falls within the competence of the City of Johannesburg," said Buang Jones, SAHRC Gauteng head.

During the recent meeting, the different departments made commitments.

The DID decided to make a commitment to meet with treasury to get more money to finish off the school project. The City of Johannesburg also said it would fast-track the approval processes, and it has already fixed the blockages which led to the sewage leaking into the school. 

Treasury has agreed to consider the submissions made by the DID for more funds. The Gauteng Department of Education has supported all documents submitted to the department and it has approved for the school to get funding. 

Jones said the commission was happy with the progress made through the meeting and hoped that the school would receive enough funding to be fixed.

In early September, the Gauteng legislature’s portfolio committee on infrastructure development and property management (IDPM) had paid a visit to the school.

The assessment done by the committee found that the school was a safety hazard. The ground that the school was built on had the potential to weaken the building structure, which would possibly collapse on learners and school staff.

“As a result of not being occupied, and neglected for over three years, the school structure continues to deteriorate, with many defects such as collapsing ceiling, cracking tiles and walls as well as flooding water around the school, to name a few." said chairperson of the portfolio committee on IDPM Mpho Modise.

“Learners who were supposed to be beneficiaries of this school are now housed at a nearby overcrowded school which is in a state of disrepair and poses a high risk for both learners and educators."

Modise said the committee would not only focus on assessing schools but it would also be checking on all infrastructure projects in the province.

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