The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Education portfolio committee Chairperson, Sifiso Sonjica, to request an urgent briefing by the province’s Department of Education (DoE) on the full impact of the recent floods on schools in the province.
Currently, the DA is aware of some 600 schools which have been severely affected. This while more rain is expected. Then there are the claims that at least 100 schools are being used for shelter and not just one, as reported during a COGTA briefing last week. This requires urgent clarification by the DoE.
While there has already been a provincial legislature oversight programme, with inspections of affected areas, this has not been sufficient or specific enough when it comes to education.
There are some 1 050 schools in eThekwini alone and the province’s Education portfolio committee needs to schedule oversight visits to – at the very least – those that are worst affected. The committee also needs to visit schools that are housing displaced citizens to see what is happening with regards to getting teaching and learning going again.
KZN’s schools have a long road to recovery. Not only have the recent floods had a devastating impact, there is also the existing infrastructure backlog from previous storms. Added to this is the damage caused during last July’s insurrection, not to mention the asbestos roofs, pit latrines and vandalised schools which form part of KZN Education’s dismal legacy.
The sooner the portfolio committee gets a handle of the situation on the ground, the better. Certainly, it cannot be another seven months before it meets again, as was recently the case.
The DA looks forward to a favourable response from the Chairperson. We need to get out into the province and see for ourselves if we are to make a difference.