‘Construction site schools’ slammed

Slow construction at several Uitenhage schools saw frustrated residents take to the streets in protest against what they say is “dangerous education” as pupils mill around the unfinished schools.
A little more than 100 residents embarked on a peaceful march from Allanridge Civic Centre to the district education office in Uitenhage – about two kilometres – to hand over a memorandum of demands on Friday.
The group of mainly parents represented Jubilee Park Primary School, Gamble Street High School, Winterberg Primary School, Nkululeko Senior Secondary School and Noninzi Luzipho Primary School.
Construction at the five schools has been hampered over several years as a result of several issues of non-payment to contractors, protests and other factors.
At the district office the group, led by provincial secretary of the United Front Mgcini Mejane and the chair of the Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party, Xolisile Peter, expressed their disappointment at having missed the provincial officials.
“We are being undermined by the department. We know the MEC and all his officials were in the region this week and not a single one could meet us to accept this memorandum,” Mejane said.
“We have been arranging this march and meeting since last year with the department.
The memorandum was received by district community liaison officer Viwe Madonzi, who said the MEC and his team had returned to East London, and he would pass it on to the relevant officials.
The gesture did little to appease irate parents and community members who said their children were being cheated out of a quality education and forced to navigate dangerous environments.
“School is supposed to be a place of safety and learning. Instead our children are faced with dangerous education as they move in construction sites,” Peter said.
Education MEC Mlungisi Mvoko completed his three day oversight visit in the Nelson Mandela Bay district earlier this week, during which he said infrastructure was the biggest problem in the province.
He undertook to ensure the department would compile an audit of all unfinished projects and complete them...

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