No repairs for dilapidated Queenstown school, despite being first on the priority list: DA Eastern Cape

JANUARY 15, 2015

A 70-year-old school building in Queenstown is in such a state of disrepair that it has become common for teachers and pupils to step through the floorboards and for pieces of ceiling to drop onto their heads during class, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape claims.

“Despite calls from the community and promises by the Education District office in Queenstown that Louis Rex Primary school was No. 1 on the priority list to be rebuilt, no effort has been made from the side of the Department of Education to ease the plight of this school community,” DA Shadow MEC for Education, Edmund van Vuuren, said in a statement on Thursday.

“It seems that being No. 1 on a schools infrastructure priority list does not guarantee that the school will be built.”

Van Vuuren had visited Louis Rex Primary School on Monday to ascertain for myself the condition of the building.

“It is a miracle that no one has been seriously injured, but the luck of these teachers and learners will eventually run out. Numerous accidents have occurred where teachers and learners have been hurt from falling through the unstable wooden floors or by parts of falling ceiling.

“This structure, with its asbestos roof, is not only a fire hazard but also a health- and safety risk,” he said.

“Teachers have been buying off-cuts out of their own pockets to repair the rotten window frames that have fallen out and holes in the doors as the maintenance budget allocated to the school by the department is not sufficient to patch up the ever- deteriorating infrastructure.

“I have submitted questions for written reply to the MEC for Education, Mandla Makupula to give unambiguous details of what the plans are with respect to the replacement of this dilapidated school structure.”

He accused government of ignoring its duty to provide our learners and teachers with a safe environment that is conducive to quality teaching and learning.

“We are waiting in anticipation to see what the department's next move is going to be or will they to continue to expose our children to the dangers of this unstable structure. I sincerely hope not.”

Photo 1: DA Shadow MEC for Education, Edmund van Vuuren, visited the Louis Rex Primary school in Queenstown on Monday.

Photo 2: Louis Rex Primary school teacher, Florence Njara-Swapi, was photographed by a colleague where she got stuck after stepping through the floorboards in her classroom. Image: DA Eastern Cape via Facebook.