Ricochet News

Things so bad at East London school, pupils relieve themselves in the open, while teachers use buckets

Feb 20, 2018
Things so bad at East London school, pupils relieve themselves in the open, while teachers use buckets

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape on Tuesday called the MEC for Education, Mandla Makupula, to intervene at Bhongweni Primary School in Bhongweni Township, East London, where it said dire working and learning conditions have left pupils and teachers feeling despondent.

"After a recent oversight visit to the school, I found that there are four zinc structures, two wooden structures built by parents from pallets, and two temporary classrooms which house 405 learners," described Jane Cowley (MPL), the DA's Eastern Cape Deputy Shadow MEC for Education.

"There are no floors in many of the classrooms, there is no electricity, and there are very few windows.

"Learners relieve themselves in grassy areas around the premises and teachers use a bucket in a zinc structure as there are no ablution facilities at the school."

Cowley said that teachers and pupils at a registered school should not be forced to function under such inhumane circumstances.

"This school clearly illustrates the deep-seated rot within the infrastructure directorate of the Department of Education. They receive a huge portion of the Education budget but systematically underperform and fail to deliver on their mandate," she added.

Cowley said that she has written to the MEC, requesting his urgent intervention in order to provide the following structures and services for the school:

  • Proper sanitation for all learners and educators;
  • Electrify the school;
  • Provide temporary classrooms that comply with the norms and standards for public school’s infrastructure;
  • Provide additional temporary structures such as an administration unit and a kitchen in order to comply with health regulations; and
  • Instigate an independent investigation into the continued underperformance and irregular expenditure of the infrastructure directorate.

"In DA-led governments, we ensure that infrastructural challenges are dealt with speedily and effectively so that no educator or learner is compromised."