Lorenzo Andrews, seen with Education MEC Donald Grant, from a school of learners with special educational needs received an award at Leeuwenhof. Picture Cindy Waxa

Cape Times -

The Western Cape Education Department has warned it will act against governing bodies that do not follow the rules about allowing private entities to use school property.

In one instance, the department has had to upgrade the electricity supply at a school after it allowed a cellular provider to use its electricity supply.

Bronagh Casey, spokeswoman for Education MEC Donald Grant, said the school had entered into an unauthorised agreement with the provider. The school was spending more on electricity than it received for rental.

Casey said the contract was due for renewal but could not be renewed unless guidelines relating to the installation of cell masts and base stations on school property were met.

In a letter to schools, the department stated it had been sued by a private entity that entered into a lease agreement with a school for an unauthorised project.

Casey said that in this case an agreement was made for the construction and operation of mini soccer facilities on a “quasi-commercial basis”.

According to the letter, the case is still pending.

The Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning has also given the education department a R250 000 fine.

Casey said in this case, a sand dune had been removed from a school in 1995 because it posed a safety risk to pupils.

She said the contractor had been charged with illegally mining the sand.

In 2011, the department had been alerted by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning and residents to the dumping of rubble in the hole (left by the contractor).

She said the department had investigated and the school was instructed to stop all activities.

The fine was issued in terms of the National Environmental Management Act of 1998. It had been issued to the Western Cape Education Department, but it was not clear who would ultimately be held responsible, Casey said.

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