Lack of leadership at Altmont Secondary School contributes to safety challenges

The lack of effective leadership at Almont Technical School is severely contributing to the safety challenges of violence, theft, and gangsterism.

In a recent incident, learners stole school furniture and sold it. The school was also disrupted by violent protests earlier this year, severely affecting learning and teaching.

See photos here, here, and here.

Today, the Democratic Alliance (DA) conducted a follow-up oversight inspection at the school to determine whether safety interventions have been implemented to ensure the safety of learners and teachers.

Despite the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) deploying patrollers at this school, ill-discipline remains a challenge.

The DA demands that the Gauteng MEC for Education, Matome Chiloane, urgently intervenes to foster a working relationship between the school management, school governing body (SGB), and district officials.

We will further table questions to the department to determine whether the safety interventions that they have implemented have yielded any positive results.

We strongly believe learning environments should be safe havens for leaners and for teachers.

Therefore, the DA will continue to fight for adequate learning and teaching environments for all learners across the province.

DA to assess construction progress and safety interventions at Simunye Secondary and Altmont Technical High School

Today, Thursday, 21 September 2023, the Democratic Alliance (DA) Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education, Khume Ramulifho MPL, will conduct oversight inspections at Simunye Secondary School and Altmont Technical High School.

The DA will assess the progress of the construction of the brick-and-mortar structure to replace the dilapidated mobile classrooms at Simunye Secondary School in Bekkersdal.

We will also assess the implementation of the safety intervention strategy at Altmont Technical High School in Protea South following several incidents of violence and gangsterism.

Members of the media are invited, and there will be an opportunity for interviews and photographs.

Details of the oversight are as follows:

Date: 21 September 2023

Oversight inspection one

Time: 10:00
Venue: Simunye Secondary School, Bekkersdal, Westonaria, 1779

Oversight inspection Two

Time: 11:00
Venue: Altmont Technical High School.

Urgent investigation needed into alleged food poisoning at Pulamadibogo Primary School

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng demands that the Department of Education conduct an urgent investigation at the Pulamadibogo Primary School in Block Y, Shoshanguve, after at least 90 learners fell ill due to alleged food poisoning.

It is reported that 10 ambulances took learners for medical treatment following the incident.

The DA has been reliably informed that the learners had allegedly eaten “space cookies” that were sold outside the school premises by a vendor.

This is worrying, as this is not the first time that learners have fallen ill after purchasing food outside the school gate.

Earlier this year, a group of learners fell ill after eating ‘space cookies’ bought from a vendor outside the school premises in Alexandra.

This is now becoming a trend, and it is concerning as schools should be a safe place for teaching and learning.

The DA once again calls on the Gauteng Department of Education to establish an integrated safety approach that includes the School Governing Body (SGB) and the community to avoid such incidents from occurring.

Gauteng schools lack a functional vetting process for vendors to ensure that learners are sold safe, hygienic, and healthy food.

The DA will continue to pressure the department to implement the vetting process for all vendors trading outside the school premises across the province to protect the learners from drugs and food poisoning.

Abandoned Thubelihle Secondary School project affects the delivery of quality education

The delivery of quality education has been compromised at Thubelihle Secondary School in Soweto because the environment is not conducive to learning and teaching due to an incomplete and abandoned infrastructure project.

This school was allocated more than R9 million for the refurbishment of blocks of classrooms, ablution facilities, an administration block, a guard and caretaker house, and the replacement of roof coverings.

Shockingly, the service provider failed to deliver and abandoned the project. This has had a negative impact on quality teaching and learning.

To date, the department has paid more than R4 million but very little to show for it. The Gauteng Department of Infrastructure (DID) has proven once again that it cannot deliver much-needed school infrastructure in the province due to many abandoned school projects.

It is high time that the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) take control of its school infrastructure projects to ensure access to an adequate and conducive environment for all learners across the province.

Furthermore, all service providers who have failed to deliver within budget and on time must be blacklisted from doing business with the government.

This consequence management will prevent department officials from appointing their friends and politicians as service providers and save taxpayers money.

The DA will submit questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) to the department to determine when this project will resume and the stipulated time frame to conclude the refurbishments of this school.

Illegally operating independent schools denying learners access to quality education

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng demands that the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) shut down independent schools operating illegally in the province because they are denying learners of access to quality education and a conducive learning environment.

The DA received complaints about 13 schools allegedly operating illegally in Bloubosrand. We conducted oversight inspections at five schools in the area today and we can confirm that they are operating illegally.

Boipuso Primary School is not registered, there is severe overcrowding in the classrooms and no area for the learners to play.

Takane Academy, Gateway Private School, Aeon Academy and Stepping Stones Academy are not registered. This means that these schools are not following the correct curriculum and environmental health laws.

See photos here, here, here and here.

In addition, all of the schools are operating from a residential home that has not been zoned for business purposes. Furthermore, some of the schools are using documents that appear to be fake and may not have been obtained legally.

The DA demands that GDE urgently intervene to ensure that all independent schools operating in the province do so legally. This will protect the interests of both the learners and the parents.

We will also be submitting questions to determine the number of independent schools in the province and the schools in Bloubosrand that are operating illegally.

It is high time that the department ensures that more schools are built in the province to deal with the influx of people. It is unacceptable that we have a situation where parents desperate for their children to receive an education resort to sending them to schools that are not registered.

The DA is also urging parents to ensure that the independent schools they send their children to are fully compliant and registered with the GDE.

DA urges parents to accept placement offers within seven days to ensure no child misses school in 2024

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng urges parents and guardians to accept their children’s placement offer within seven days to ensure that no child misses a day of schooling in 2024.

 The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) has today begun the process of placement offers for Grades 1 and 8 for the 2024 academic year. The parents will be notified via SMS of placement offers, which they can either accept as final or accept while waiting for their preferred schools.

 Furthermore, we call on the department to communicate efficiently with all parents and guardians who have applied. Based on previous experience, some parents complained of not receiving placement offer SMS from the department, which resulted in learners not being placed on time.

 The DA will monitor the progress of the placement process to ensure that all learners who applied on time are placed. We will also continue to put pressure on the department to ensure that the process is transparent, all parents are treated equally, and there is constant communication between parents and the department on placement issues.


DA to assess why Sizuzile Primary School has been shut down

Tomorrow, Thursday, 23 March 2023, the Democratic Alliance Shadow MEC for Education, Khume Ramulifho MPL, will conduct an oversight inspection at Sizuzile Primary School in Tsakane, Ekurhuleni.

The DA has been reliably informed that the school has been shut down nearly a month ago. The two grade R classrooms were burnt down to ashes. It is alleged that angry parents have been protesting outside the school preventing teaching and learning from taking place. Learners have lost much of their valuable schooling time because of the ongoing protest.

Members of the media are invited and there will be an opportunity for interviews and photographs.

The details of the oversight inspection are as follows:

Date: Thursday 23 March 2023

Time: 10:00 am

Venue: Sizuzile Primary School

Address: 31450 9th Avenue, Tsakane, Ekurhuleni.

An urgent safety plan must be implemented to protect Altmont Technical High learners and teachers from gangsters

The safety of learners and teachers at Altmont Technical High School is under siege due to gangsters disrupting schooling.

Learning and teaching have been severely affected since the beginning of the 2023 academic year due to gangsters’ fights.

During the DA’s school readiness tour at Altmont Technical High School, we met with disgruntled parents and community members concerned about the safety of their children.

See the photos here, here, and here.

In our engagement with the school management, we discovered that some learners have substance abuse issues and some even bring weapons to school.

Furthermore, the school is overcrowded and has exceeded its capacity. Despite efforts by the school management to involve the police, there are constant gang fights at the school.

The DA propose that the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) must implement an urgent integrated safety plan involving social worker, police, Community Policing Forum (CPF), and the School Governing Body (SGB) to identify the core issues causing this disruptive behaviour and bring a permanent solution.

We will further submit written questions to the Gauteng MEC for Education, Matome Chiloane to ascertain the effectiveness of the school’s safety strategy in the province.

Gangsterism and violence negatively impact learners’ performance and must be dealt with as a matter of urgency.

GDE will not meet the demand to place all learners as DID is lagging in building new schools

The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) will not meet the demand to place all learners who applied for Grades 1 and 8 for the 2023 academic year.

This is because the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development and Property Management (DID) is lagging in building new schools and maintaining the existing schools.

This means that with the high demand for enrolment in this province, many learners will not have access to quality education and a conducive learning environment due to the shortage of schools.

This will result in overcrowding in classrooms, some learners being taught under the tree or in the school hall, and many schools will adopt the rotational learning system to ensure that learning and teaching continue without further disruptions.

There have been unnecessary delays in the construction of the following new schools; Hillcrest Primary School, Mayibuye School Primary, Mogobeng Primary School, Nokuthula LSEN School, Nancifield Primary School, Braamfischerville Primary School, and Rustervaal Secondary School.

The contractors have been terminated, and the planning is underway for the appointment of new contractors to complete the projects.

This information was revealed by the Gauteng MEC for Infrastructure Development and Property Management (DID) MEC, Tasneem Motara, in a written reply to the DA’s questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL). See replies here.

It is unacceptable that seven schools are still incomplete and will not be completed within the stipulated timelines. Delays in the completion of infrastructure projects will result in running over budget.

It is further disappointing that the only action taken by DID against these contractors that have failed to complete the construction of the schools is terminating their contracts.

Contractors who fail to complete the infrastructure projects should be blacklisted and not do business with the government.

The DA demands that both MEC Motara and Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi, must fast-track the process of appointing the new contractors so that the construction of schools can be completed and be able to ease pressure on high demand schools. When the DA governs Gauteng in 2024, we will terminate the current agreement between DID and the GDE, to ensure that GDE is responsible for its infrastructure budget and building its own schools.

MEC Lesufi must ensure that all learners are placed before end of November

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng demands that no learner in 2023 must miss a day of schooling due to the Gauteng Department of Education’s failure to allocate school placements before the end of this year.

The Gauteng Department of Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi, is tasked with a responsibility to ensure that all parents and guardians who applied on time for the Grades 1 and 8 online admissions should all receive placement offers.

The late placement of learners can no longer be tolerated, as it denies learners their constitutional right to access basic education. This will result in learners missing out on the much-needed everyday learning and falling behind in the curriculum.

Many learners across the province continue to suffer and are not being allocated schools timeously despite that they applied on time. This causes uncertainty and frustration amongst the parents who are supposed to budget and plan for their children’s stationery, transport, and school uniforms.

The DA propose that the department must use the information received from the online admissions to plan and prepare to ensure that schools have adequate learning resources. This includes amongst others, recruiting more teachers, providing additional classrooms, and replacing dilapidated mobile classrooms.

We will continue to monitor the process of learner placements to ensure that all parents and guardians who applied on time receive placement offers. Should we receive complaints from parents that they have not received any placement offers, we will directly engage with the department.