School is built on leaky sewer, not wetland, says Gauteng government

The Gauteng government denied that Mayibuye Primary School in Tembisa is built on a wetland.
The Gauteng government denied that Mayibuye Primary School in Tembisa is built on a wetland.
Image: Veli Nhlapho

The Gauteng government has denied claims by one of its own portfolio committees that an R82m school was built on an wetland and has stood unused for three years.

In a statement on Saturday, the provincial government dismissed the claims about Mayibuye Primary School in Tembisa, Ekurhuleni, as untrue and misleading.

“The department of infrastructure development and property development wishes to clarify media reports alleging that Mayibuye Primary School was built on a wetland. This is untrue and it is misleading,” the statement read.

“The first allegation is that the school was completed three years ago and has been standing empty since then. That’s false and misleading.

“The truth is that the construction of the school started in 2017. The evidence is easily available as the building took place in public and the records exist to confirm this.”

The province said the scope of the project had to be reviewed to meet certain requirements.

“During the building process the Gauteng department of education ... revised the scope of the project to incorporate the smart schools’ requirements,” said the statement.

“The revisions were communicated to the contractor. As a direct result of this change the school design was adjusted and altered into a modern information technology-based facility with a design based on a prototype that incorporates department of education national schools infrastructure norms and standards.

“These changes required funds. The project of Mayibuye Primary School entails the design, engineering, procurement, construction, furnishing and delivery of the new brick-and-mortar school in Commercia, Midrand. Mayibuye Primary School facility is designed to cater for 1,200 children from grade R to grade 7.” 

The provincial government said the access road to the school had to be changed due to illegal encroachment by adjacent properties during construction and “the new access location attracted need for road upgrades to cater for additional traffic”.

It added: “The department wishes to stress that the school was not built on a wetland. This allegation is extremely unfortunate, misleading and malicious.

“Contrary to claims that there is a wetland, there is actually a sewer line that was discovered when the engineers conducted a wetland investigation. This required the team to dig seven pits, which is when an old sewer line was discovered, which was found to have been leaking for years. Unfortunately no records of the pipe can be found.”

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