The entrance to the new multimillion-rand Nokuthula School for special-needs learners in Marlboro. Picture: Itumeleng English/ African News Agency/ANA
Johannesburg - A multimillion-rand government school built for children with special needs is not operating, raising fears that it could go to waste.

Learners at Nokuthula Centre and Special School were still accommodated in the old building in Marlboro, Sandton, on Wednesday.

The new R300 million hi-tech, state-of-the-art facility in Lyndhurst, Joburg, stood empty.

Situated about 5km away from Marlboro, the Nokuthula LSEN (Learners with Special Education Needs) School was unveiled by the Gauteng Department of Education in October.

An official at the school in Marlboro, who asked not to be named, said the school still needed to acquire an occupational licence before pupils can make use of the facility.

“We were told that we cannot move to the new school without the licence. If we do and something happens to a child, we will have to take full responsibility,” said the official.

“We were taken to the school for the launch in October and we were looking forward to our new school,” said another employee.

Gauteng Department of Education spokesperson Steve Mabona said he was too busy with the opening of schools to comment on the matter.

The school will cater for 560 learners, with 80 accommodated in the boarding facilities on the premises, once it starts operating.

Meanwhile, teaching and learning got under way at the school in Marlboro, with a few parents waiting for their children to be placed.

Phumelele Zulu, 40, whose son Velemseni, 7, has cerebral palsy, was one of them.

“He cannot talk and only started walking when he was four years old. My son will meet and play with children with a similar condition at the school.

"I want him to learn to read and write,” Zulu said.

Another parent, Melta Nyoni, hopes that her 15-year-old son Sabelo will one day be able to play professional football. “He loves soccer," said the 50-year-old unemployed mother of six children.

The Star