Durban — Non-governmental Organisation the Gift of the Givers has spent R40 million upgrading KwaZulu-Natal schools which were affected by floods in April last year.
On Monday, Tyburn Primary in Chatsworth and Mason Lincoln Special School in uMlazi were handed over while Port Natal Skool in Durban and Insizwakazi Primary in Pinetown were officially opened on Tuesday.
According to the organisation, some of the schools were in a bad state of repair, unrelated to the floods, but due to failure of maintenance over the years. Upgrades focused on repairing floors, roofs, ceilings, windows, doors, toilets, classrooms, entire buildings, stormwater drains, boundary walls, electrical and water networks.
Gift of the Givers CEO Dr Imtiaz Sooliman said they received numerous calls for assistance in schools after the floods.
He said the combination of schools was chosen from suggestions from the Department of Education and public.
Sooliman said following their upgrade to Port Natal Skool, the acting principal Jolanda von Bargen and the management agreed to convert the purely Afrikaans medium school into a dual medium institution.
“As promised, the school this year is going full; pupils from junior medium have been registered and have started attending school here. This has been a huge advantage for the area, school and for the community,” said Sooliman.
Construction manager Altaaf Essop said work was planned for 12 months but they managed to complete it in four months. This consisted of rehabilitation of the entire top floor of the school. Four blocks were affected; they had to be re-roofed, rebuilt, repainted and re-ceilinged. All the electrical, plumbing and flooring was redone. All the broken windows were replaced, said Essop.
“The entire school was rebuilt. We are looking at about 2 000m2 of roofing and 1 800m2 of ceiling and putting electricity in every classroom. Basically, we built a new school in four months.”
Von Bargen said over the years they had many disappointments of people promising to help, but never did.
“The Gift of the Givers did not leave the promise unprompted.”
She said though the main aim was to fix classes for pupils to be taught in, there were things that still needed to be done.
“Some damage was historical but the severe ones came with the floods. We are grateful that now we can use those classes and teach after they had been closed for so long.”