Fixing damaged KwaZulu-Natal schools will cost millions, says MEC Kwazi Mshengu
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DURBAN - THE number of schools vandalised during last week’s violent looting spree in KwaZulu-Natal has grown to 139.
The number could still grow as the department checks other schools.
Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu revealed this while conducting an assessment of the damage at some schools yesterday.
He visited Bavumile Primary School and Muziwamadla Secondary School in uMlazi District. Both were vandalised.
Mshengu said while the current figure of vandalised schools was 139, it was likely to grow as some principals were only going to their schools this week to check for damage.
“We are talking about millions of rand in damage here. In the immediate future, we are going to need to find mobile classrooms to accommodate some of the pupils displaced in these schools and these mobile classrooms are very expensive,” said Mshengu.
He said there were already about 420 schools across the province that were damaged either by the storms or vandalised, and which needed to be
fixed, bringing the total number to 556. He said of the schools that had been visited, it was clear criminals knew what they wanted, and were intent on causing damage.
He said the criminals stole 18 laptops, soccer kits and other teaching and learning essentials.
This financial year, the department’s budget was cut by R6.3 billion. Damage inflicted would make it difficult for the department to deliver on its mandate, Mshengu said.
He said department officials were still calculating the cost of the latest damage. “It is concerning that infrastructure that is meant to build young people continues to be vandalised in this manner. We urge communities to protect schools in the same way they protected other infrastructure during the recent crises.
“We are continuing with a call that criminals must be isolated in our communities and that the community should not be a market for stolen goods because surely these 18 laptops stolen from the school will be sold in the streets at cheaper prices.”
DA Education spokesperson Dr Imran Keeka called for the portfolio committee on education to urgently convene to assess damage to schools and for members to scrutinise the plan to safely and effectively reopen learning institutions.