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DA calls for investigation into Rufane Donkin Primary construction project

Jan 28, 2020
DA calls for investigation into Rufane Donkin Primary construction project

Port Elizabeth - The Democratic Alliance (DA) will be calling on the Eastern Cape Department of Education to do a full investigation into why construction work at the Rufane Donkin Primary School in Gelvandale, Port Elizabeth is still incomplete and its request for additional classrooms have been ignored.

"Today I conducted an oversight inspection at the school as part of the DA’s School Readiness Programme," said Yusuf Cassim MPL - DA Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for Education.

"When we arrived at the school at 07:00 parents and learners had locked the gates to prevent any teaching from taking place and started protesting.

"They are calling for a safer learning environment and for the construction that has been ongoing for 12 years to be completed.

"Parents resorted to burning items outside the school because they are being ignored by the department and the project’s implementing agent, the Coega Development Corporation (CDC)."

Cassim said that the DA can never condone actions preventing children from receiving their right to an education, but it is heartbreaking that parents must resort to closing a school to get the attention that they desperately need.

"Construction at the Rufane Donkin project started in 2008 and several contractors have left the site due to non-payment.

"The school is dangerous and struggles with a lack of space and a shortage of classrooms. Classes have to be taught in the staff room and the school’s dining hall," he added.

"There is a desperate need for additional classrooms and although the school wrote to the department’s Nelson Mandela Bay district director Mr Ernest Gorgonzola to request these, he never sent the request on to the department’s infrastructure unit.

"I call on the Eastern Cape MEC for Education, Mr Fundile Gade, to hold Mr Gorgonzola accountable for not escalating the plight of the school and to investigate the reasons for the non-completion of construction."

Cassim said that after speaking to a CDC representative, he was provided with contradicting information.

"This strengthens the DA’s argument of having only one implementing agent which will allow for better control of all departmental projects

"The DA has been driving the Rufane Donkin issue for several years through oversight inspections, writing to the department, meeting with stakeholders and bringing the matter to the attention of the provincial government," he described.

"We are fighting for the school to be included in the departmental budget for the new financial year and to be supplied with temporary classrooms in the interim.

"The DA will continue to fight to ensure a safe, dignified school environment and quality education for the learners of Rufane Donkin."

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