GDE must deliver adequate school infrastructure before the 2024 academic year begins

The quality of teaching and learning will be negatively impacted in 2024 because the Gauteng Department of Education and the Department of Infrastructure Development have failed to build new schools this year.

This means that the 2024 Grade 1 and 8 learners will not have access to a conducive learning and teaching environment. This is despite the department’s announcement today that the placements will begin on 4 September 2024 and continue throughout the year.

There are many school projects that have been abandoned for more than five years, namely Semphato Secondary School, Rustervaal Secondary School, Nanciefield Primary School, and Mayibuye Primary School. Furthermore, schools such as Allenridge Secondary School in Midrand are still on the rotational learning system because there are not enough classrooms to accommodate all learners attending school daily.

This will affect the placement of learners because there are many learners who applied for the 2024 academic year in the province.

The department has also failed to repurpose closed and abandoned schools. This has resulted in overcrowding in many schools, which has been made worse by the department’s failure to deliver mobile classrooms to minimise pressure in high-demand areas.

The DA demands that the Gauteng MEC for Education, Chiloane Matome, prioritise the delivery of adequate infrastructure and resources to schools, such as mobile classrooms, stationary, and furniture, before the 2024 academic year begins. By so doing, they will ensure that no learner miss a day of schooling in 2024.

MEC Chiloane must act against irregular expenditure and ensure that money is spent on fixing school infrastructure

The Gauteng school’s infrastructure is old and deteriorating, and the environment in which learning and teaching take place is not conducive, yet the department has incurred irregular expenditure amounting to R811 842 000 in the 2021/22 financial year.

The DA is demanding that the newly appointed Gauteng Department of Education MEC Matome Chiloane, must take action against officials who incurred irregular expenditures in the 2021/22 financial year.

The Auditor General has indicated the following on the department’s annual report for the 2021/22 financial year: “Effective and appropriate steps were not taken to prevent irregular expenditure amounting to R811 842 000, as is disclosed in note 23.1 and 23.2 to the annual financial statements as required by PFMA and Treasury Regulations. The majority of irregular expenditure was caused by prior year non-compliance regarding procurement and contract management.”

It is concerning that Programme 7, which focuses on examinations and education-related services, has incurred R772.2 million in irregular expenditure while this programme also underspent its allocated budget by R123 million. This money could have been adjusted and moved to other programmes through virement.

The DA proposes that the department allocate more budget to fund school infrastructure as many schools are ageing and dilapidated, and the mobile classrooms are damaged. The department should also prioritise the eradication of asbestos and mobile schools and replace them with brick-and-mortar structures to ensure that teaching and learning take place in a conducive environment.

The DA is also challenging MEC Chiloane to take decisive actions against officials implicated in irregular expenditure as outlined by the Auditor General’s findings. There are many ongoing forensic investigations into alleged financial irregularities, financial misconduct, and fraud within the department. This can only stop when the political head is committed to fighting corruption and sending a strong message that he will protect the public purse.

MEC Lesufi must eradicate risky asbestos schools in Gauteng

The DA has today visited Rust-Ter-Vaal Secondary school in Vereeniging to inspect progress made to upgrade the school from risky asbestos.

Last year Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi indicated that the project to upgrade the school to a brick and mortar structure was at the planning phase.

However, based on our visit, there is no indication that the school will be rebuilt any time soon. Some classrooms have no electricity, while others have broken windows and the building is riddled with cracks. Cracked and exposed asbestos poses a serious health risk.

Proper school infrastructure must be a priority. The Gauteng Department of Education has in the past failed to spend its allocated budget, and this year’s proposed budget has been significantly decreased. This will further hinder attempts to address the infrastructure backlog.

ICT classrooms at this school are also incomplete and have been since July last year. Teachers are finding it difficult to teach without smart boards as the old chalk boards were removed but not replaced.

The DA will table a motion in the Gauteng Legislature proposing that the MEC must do everything possible to eradicate all risky asbestos schools across Gauteng without delay, but that while asbestos schools remain in operation, there must be regular asbestos-risk testing for all teachers and learners forced to use these schools in Gauteng, to ensure that they are receiving the same quality of education as learners at better-facilitated schools.

Media Enquiries

Khume Ramulifho MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education
082 398 7375

Warren Gwilt
Media Manager
073 601 6144

MEC Lesufi, Where Is The R90 Million For Noordgesig Primary School?

Noordgesig Primary School

Construction at Noordgesig Primary School in Soweto which was promised to commence in September 2016 has still not started.

Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi, made this promise in the Provincial Legislature in March this year.

R90 million was set aside to fix the school which has remained desolate for over six years.

Millions of rands have been budgeted for the renovation of the school since the 2010/11 financial year.

In November 2014 a contractor was awarded a R17.8 million tender to fix the school.

Infrastructure Related Projects

The department tabled in its quarterly report last year, recognising the project was “completed” in August 2015, however not a single brick was delivered to the school.

Today, we are back at the very same place we started. I am extremely disappointed in the MEC for not keeping his promise.

The department allocated R2.6 billion for infrastructure related projects in the 2016/17 financial year, yet it seems Noordgesig Primary School is not a priority.

We are fast approaching the seventh year of “renovations” at this school.

Thousands of learners’ education has been disrupted due to the lack of urgency to have the school completely renovated.

A poor teaching and learning environment has become the norm at Noordgesig.

The DA has been monitoring the lack of progress for the renovations at the school.

School Falling Apart

I will write to MEC Lesufi, demanding an explanation for the delay in construction and I will table an urgent question for oral reply to the MEC in the Legislature for the 13th September sitting of the house.

I also urge him to communicate with the teachers, learners and parents to properly inform them as to when the renovations will start and be concluded.

It is completely unacceptable that learners continue to attend a school that is near to falling apart.

MEC Lesufi, it is high time that you pull up your sleeves and prioritise this project.


Media enquiries:

Khume Ramulifho MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education

082 398 7375

[Image source]

DA Challenges MEC Lesufi To Deliver Furniture To All Schools In Gauteng

The DA has visited a number of schools in Soweto to check on school readiness, focusing on furniture, learner educator-ratio and general state of school infrastructure.

The most disappointing visit was to Siyabonga Secondary School in Braamfischerville – this school performed well last year with a Grade 12 pass rate above 80%, however, the school desperately needs chairs and extra classrooms.

Learners sit against walls, share chairs and in some instances, use desks to sit on.

(Click here to view images).

The Gauteng education department has a responsibility to provide an environment conducive to learning and teaching in schools across the province.

The department has failed learners and teachers at Siyabonga Secondary School and others in and around Soweto.

It is unacceptable that the department allows such discouraging learning conditions to characterise the 2016 academic year.

Once again the department has failed to use early enrolment as a planning mechanism to allocate resources.

Before the MEC Panyaza Lesufi threatens to fire principals and teachers and build state-of-the-art new schools, he must provide schools with basic resources.

Get the basics right, MEC Lesufi.


Media Enquiries:

Khume Ramulifho, MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC of Education

082 398 7375