File photo: African News Agency (ANA) Archives
File photo: African News Agency (ANA) Archives

New R86m school in Kraaifontein boost for SAFE initiative

By Francesca Villette Time of article published Aug 30, 2018

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Kraaifontein learners will no longer be exposed to a substandard educational environment after the Department of Basic Education opened a brand-new R86 million building for them on Wednesday.

Scottsdene Secondary, one of 25 schools identified to benefit from the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (Asidi), was rebuilt from the ground up, with 45 new classrooms.

Asidi is to eradicate the basic safety norms backlog in schools without water, sanitation and electricity, and to replace those schools constructed from inappropriate material, including mud, and asbestos schools.

Scottsdene Secondary’s erection also forms part of the national school build programme of the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Commission.

Department spokesperson Albert Gumbo said the new building had five specialist classrooms - which include a computer lab, science lab and library.

“With the handover of this multimillion-rand school both Asidi and SAFE will continue to play a vital role in eradicating inappropriate and unsafe school infrastructure, and in so doing, restoring dignity to rural education,” Gumbo said.

The SAFE initiative, led by the department - in partnership with the National Education Collaboration Trust and the Nelson Mandela Foundation - was launched in response to significant school sanitation challenges facing some of the country’s poorest schools.

The purpose of the campaign is to provide safe sanitation facilities for all our learners and, in the process, help to restore their dignity.

“Asidi will continue to work in support of the Department’s SAFE initiative in partnership with the National Education Collaboration Trust and the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

"Unlike Asidi - which focuses on schools that had no sanitation whatsoever - the SAFE initiative will focus on schools where sanitation has been found to be inadequate or unsafe,” Gumbo said.

Last month, advocacy group Equal Education (EE) took Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to the Bhisho High Court to declare aspects of the school infrastructure law, that allowed the government to indefinitely delay fixing the unsafe and inadequate infrastructure in South African schools, as unconstitutional.

EE argued that the department had underspent about R800m of the Asidi grant.

In response to the court challenge, Gumbo said that next week the department planned to open another brand new school in Delft, and one school every week from thereon.

“The programme is ongoing, and we are planning to open a school every week going forward,” Gumbo said.

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