ECDC begins construction of three schools in OR Tambo district

JULY 30, 2016

The Eastern Cape Development Corporation says the 92- year old Flagstaff Comprehensive School in Flagstaff is one three schools that are getting a major facelift as part of a R195 million schools revitalisation programme in the OR Tambo District Municipality.

Officially unveiling the construction launch of the schools at Flagstaff Comprehensive School on Monday morning ECDC Board chairperson Nhlanganiso Dladla says the revitalisation programme is being implemented from an initial R300 million allocation to ECDC from the provincial government toward the implementation of the Integrated Social Infrastructure Delivery Programme (ISIDP). This is being followed by the construction launch of Dilizintaba Secondary School in Tsolo today. The third school is Plangeni High School in Mbizana.

“Construction has already begun in all three schools and we expect that the last school will be completed by April 2017. We are ahead on schedule at the Flagstaff and Dilizintaba sites and already significant progress has been made.

“On Monday, ECDC Board chairperson Nhlanganiso Dladla formally launched construction work at Flagstaff Comprehensive School and we are excited that today Dilizintaba Senior Secondary School is being launched by ECDC chief executive officer Ndzondelelo Dlulane.

“Plangeni High School in Mbizana which has 1,171 learners is expected to come at a cost of R52.3- million and it is due for completion in April 2017. The second school with 740 learners is Dilizintaba Senior Secondary School in Tsolo at a cost of R53 million.

“The expected completion date is February 2017. Flagstaff Comprehensive School with 1,105 learners at a cost of R38 million is expected to be completed in January 2017,” says ECDC ISIDP executive manager Babini Melitafa.

Melitafa explains that the schools were characterised by dilapidated ablution facilities and completely ruined classrooms. For example, in Dilizintaba Senior Secondary School in Tsolo three blocks consisting of 10 classrooms had to be demolished as well as the ablution facilities.

The new structures will feature state of the art facilities. At Flagstaff Comprehensive School the dilapidated school buildings will be demolished. The scope of work includes the construction of eight new classrooms, single Grade R classroom, administration block, media centre with stores, science lab with stores, multi-purpose classroom with stores, social science room, two HOD offices with teachers workroom, nutrition dining and kitchen, guardhouse, 19 new ablution facilities as well as new pathways and covered walkways.

“This new school will create a sense of ownership and it will be a source of pride for the community, its educators and learners. There will be new offices for HODs, deputy principal and the headmaster as well. Once completed the school will be a conducive environment for teaching and learning and it should bring respect for the dignity of our learners.

Learners will no longer stand in queues for meals they will be seated in a dining hall and the sanitation facilities will be vastly improved. The school will market itself to attract top learners as well,” says Flagstaff Comprehensive School principal Malibongwe Spencer.

Established in 1924 as Msigaba School catering for Grade 1 to Grade 4, Flagstaff Comprehensive School was upgraded in 1975 to a junior secondary school and later to a combined comprehensive school offering classes up to Grade 12 in 1996.  

Melitafa says at Dilizintaba 19 new classrooms are being built, a new administration block, new hall, computer lab, a science lab and multipurpose hall, nutrition centre, HOD offices, new guard house as well as new ablution facilities. The additional classrooms should solve congestion challenges in classrooms with learners being capped at a maximum of 45 per class.

Dilizintaba Senior Secondary School principal Nomvano Dilinga who has been with the since 1985 says the 60 year-old school was a risk for teacher and learner because of badly dilapidated infrastructure.

“The construction of the new school means the community will benefit from jobs during construction and it will bring back the pride and dignity of the learners as well. We used to be worried about teachers and students fallen into holes on the wooden floors which are badly damaged. This will change.

“For instance, there will be a library where we only had a book room. There will be a computer centre which will also benefit the community for those who may want to improve their computer skills,” says Dilinga who is also the seventh and first female principal at the school.

Melitafa says at Plangeni High School dilapidated buildings will be demolished. Construction work includes  the construction of 12 new classrooms, three Grade R classrooms, administration block, media centre with stores, science lab plus an HOD office block, refuse house, temporary staffroom and kitchen, multi-purpose classroom with stores, two HOD offices with teachers workroom, nutrition dining and kitchen, guardhouse, 29 ablution facilities as well as new pathways and covered walkways.

Melitafa says following ECDCs appointment as an additional infrastructure delivery arm by the Eastern Cape Government, ECDC was allocated R300 million to implement social infrastructure projects during the 2013/14 budget adjustment period. ECDC promptly set up and capacitated an Integrated Social Infrastructure Delivery Programme (ISIDP) business unit.

“The programme came via an EXCO resolution in 2013 which recognised the massive infrastructure backlog in the Eastern Cape across key social and economic sectors and indicators such as education, health, human settlements, roads, water and sanitation. In 2014/15 ECDC carried out a conditional assessment of 79 schools on behalf of the Department of Education and the three schools form part of this group,” says Melitafa.

The report indicated that not only was a shortage of classrooms a concern, but also the state of the classrooms, substantial structural challenges, shortage of toilets, water and sanitation and access roads to the schools is a notable challenge.

This required a multi-disciplinary team made up of six companies was appointed to conduct the assessments, design and construction supervision. The schools are located in Chris Hani, OR Tambo, Amathole and Alfred Nzo district municipalities -

CAPTION: FROM LEFT: Flagstaff Comprehensive School, School Governing Body chairman G Sikulume, ECDC chief executive officer Ndzondelelo Dlulane and Flagstaff Comprehensive School principal Malibongwe Spencer. IMAGE from