Eventually! A new (Afrikaans) high school for Darling

Henry

After a long wait, construction work on a new Afrikaans high school in Darling in the Western Cape has finally begun.

According to the Swartland municipality, it took almost a decade to negotiate for a new school.

Darling currently has no high school at all and learners have to travel far to go to school in Atlantis, Malmesbury and Moorreesburg.

“This leads to significant logistical and security issues,” says Mart-MariĆ© Haasbroek, spokesperson for the Swartland municipality.

The Western Cape provincial treasury initially allocated R70 million to the project in 2018, with construction supposed to start on 1 April 2021.

However, various factors repeatedly delayed the construction work, forcing the municipality and its council members to intervene themselves. According to Haasbroek, meetings have been called with the Western Cape Department of Education, as well as the provincial ministers, department heads and the director-general to get the wheels rolling again.

After the political intervention of, among others, Michael Rangasamy, speaker of the Swartland council, the final building plans for the school were submitted in September 2023.

Shortly after this, however, the project suffered one final setback, after the national budgets for new projects were cut.

It was agreed that the first phase of the new school could begin this year with the construction of ten classrooms.

According to Haasbroek, the school will be ready for use next year.

“The high school is ready to open its doors to grade 8 and 9 learners in 2025, which offers new possibilities and a promising future for Darling Primary School’s learners and their parents,” says Haasbroek.

“We are incredibly happy and relieved about this new high school. This will bring renewed hope to our Darling residents who will no longer have to send their children to neighboring schools,” says Harold Cleophas, Swartland’s mayor.