The provincial department of education has committed to investigating conditions at Zanemfundo Primary School in Philippi after the ANC’s spokesman on education expressed his shock at the poor state of the school.
At the school, which was established in 2000, there are classrooms where the ceilings are caving in, some toilets are not functioning well, there is rubble on the school premises and the plumbing needs attention.
While the school uses funds it gets from the department to clean the grounds, addressing the infrastructural challenges they face requires more than the school can afford.
The alarming state of the school was highlighted by the ANC’s spokesman on education, Mohammed Sayed, after the school governing body invited him to the school last Wednesday.
Mr Sayed said it was deeply shocking to see the state of the school, which he feared could impact teaching, learning and the children’s health – and he stressed that this was not a political issue.
“I thought my eyes were deceiving me when I saw the state of the school. No child should learn in an environment that is not conducive to learning and teaching. This surely has an impact on the pupils’ health. The kind of maintenance that is needed at the school does not require the services of a caretaker to do it but needs professionals,” he said.
When Vukani visited the school on Friday, the principal and education department officials who were there to inspect the school, refused to allow Vukani onto the premises.
When Vukani contacted the Western Cape Education Department for comment, Kerry Mauchline, spokesperson for Education MEC Debbie Schafer, said the department was not aware of the current maintenance issues at Zanemfundo Primary, and that schools were required to notify the department of any maintenance needs. Having learned of the situation last week, she said, the department would conduct an inspection to assess the school’s needs.