Gauteng schools are facing huge enrolment pressure due to urbanisation leading to overcrowding in classrooms, yet the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) has abandoned some of its buildings.
The high application rate for Grades 1 and 8 will create a huge dilemma for parents as the department has failed to build more schools. Parents will have no option but to send their children to independent schools.
Today, the DA visited an abandoned GDE facility in Benoni. We discovered that the department is paying a security company to safeguard the dilapidated and abandoned building.
It is unclear why the department abandoned this facility while there is a high demand to build more schools in Benoni.
The department must reclaim the facility and repurpose it. The land is big enough to be used for school-related purposes. This building can be transformed into a sporting facility.
The building structure has cracked, and the paint is peeling off. The entire building is filled with litter and recycled bottles.
The DA proposes that the department prioritise the refurbishment of all these dilapidated and abandoned buildings in the province.
The DA will submit written questions to the GDE in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) to ascertain if there are plans to repurpose this building. We also want to know how much it has been spending on the security company.
Moreover, the department must give a breakdown of all abandoned school infrastructure and the overall plans on them.
If not, they should hand it over to other stakeholders like Social Development and Human Settlements to be used as a rehab centre or a housing renewal project for those in need.