Nearly five years later and more than R86 million spent, the Mayibuye Primary School in Tembisa remains unfinished. Parents have now called on government once again, citing the risk of contracting COVID-19.

Children in the area are forced to attend dilapidating temporary schools. While it’s hard to adhere to social distancing and sanitising protocols, some children also have to travel far to attend class.

Mayibuye Primary School in Tembisa: What we know

COVID-19 risk

One parent told the media that “they unhappy about the school being incomplete”, adding that residents were “not impressed with the school” or government delaying the process.

“We have not heard from government since and my children have to travel long distances”.

The Gauteng government promised a new school which would accommodate 1 200 learners back in 2015 already. Construction of the school began in 2017, with a 2020 deadline in mind.

Money down the drain

As reported by Eyewitness News, the Department of Infrastructure said “there were a number of stumbling blocks including structural changes”, which would now require even more money.

“The school has not been opened yet because the construction has not been complete and the reason for this is the change of scope that has been requested by the Gauteng Department of Education”.

Infrastructure department spokesperson Bongiwe Gambu

However, nearly R90 million had already been spent since then. We reported back in September 2020 that the Gauteng provincial government considered laying criminal charges against officials of its Department of Infrastructure Development.

Constructed on wetland

At the time, the infrastructure development committee explained that the Mayibuye Primary School was constructed in contravention of the National Building Regulations and Building Standard Act. 

“In its assessment of the school, the Committee came to the conclusion that the occupancy of the school might be a death trap to learners and educators as the wetland has the possibility to weaken the building structure which might collapse on those occupying it.”

The department could either spend millions more to fix the situation or demolishing the entire project. As it stands at the moment, the building is deemed too dangerous for occupation.

In addition, The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) conducted a site inspection in 2020 and said in a statement that site inspection was to “test the veracity of claims” made on social media.

“The commission’s inspection seeks to test the veracity of these claims and to evaluate the extent to which the school complies with the National Building Regulations and the norms and standards on public school infrastructure”.

Buang Jones, Provincial manager of the SAHR

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Presh JM Reporter

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