ActionSA to Demand Answers for R58m Spent on an Incomplete Primary School

ActionSA Eastern Cape Provincial Campaign Manager, Nongoma Mtsitshana, visited Nkwezana Primary school in Crossways, East London. Historically, the school was established on a farm in 1995. Prefabricated structures housed the first tranche of students.

The construction of proper school buildings started in 2017, with an approved budget of R58m. Construction of the school was abandoned in 2018, with non-payment of the appointed contractor cited as the reason for the cessation of construction work.

Nkwezana Primary currently accommodates 857 learners, from grade R to grade 7. The cultivation of these hungry minds is the responsibility of 26 teachers. Teaching takes place in wholly unsuitable prefabricated and corrugated iron structures. Pit latrines are the only form of ablution facilities for, both, staff and learners. This is despite the department of education promising to eradicate pit latrines by the end of 2022/23 fiscal year, through its Sanitation Appropriate for Education (SAFE) initiative, to meet the minimum Norms and Standards for school infrastructure.

ActionSA has long decried the state of our schools in the Eastern Cape, most of which do not meet the minimum Norms and Standards. Yet, here is an example of a school that was identified for upgrading and a budget was allocated for the construction of a new school, to meet the minimum standards, yet this has been stalled due to apparent financial mismanagement and, possible corruption.

ActionSA is going to write to the provincial department of education and the Premier to demand an explanation for the stalled construction and upgrading of Nkwezana Primary school. We cannot allow children to continue to be taught under such unforgiveable conditions, when funds have been allocated for the upgrading of the school, not when quality basic education is a basic right. Any acts of corruption that could have led to the unfortunate abandonment of construction should be speedily investigated and all those responsible therefore must be charged and prosecuted as a matter of urgent priority.