Prinshof school for the visually impaired  in downtown Pretoria. 
Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency/ANA
Prinshof school for the visually impaired in downtown Pretoria. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency/ANA
Prinshof School, a specialist school for the visually impaired. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
Prinshof School, a specialist school for the visually impaired. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
Pretoria - The provincial Department of Education has finally promised to have the Prinshof School for Partially Sighted and Blind main school building fit for learning by the end of the month.

The school had been left to create makeshift classrooms in its hostel facilities for the past six months.

However, departmental spokesperson Steve Mabona said the school was already undergoing refurbishment, with the project was being managed by the Department of Infrastructure Development.

He said they had been made aware by the Department of Labour that prohibition notices were issued against the school's building due to concerns with the condition of the existing emergency staircases.

As a result, it was therefore deemed non-compliant, and the school's 480 learners and staff were ordered out of the main building for safety reasons.

School government body chairperson Dirk Bloem confirmed that a power surge which hit the school in February left all the earth wires ruined.

He said an independent contractor and the Labour Department had no choice, but to rule the building unsafe and make temporary arrangements.

Members of the governing body’s task team complained that learners had been left to use the school’s hostels and dining facilities for classes since April.

To make matters worse, Bloem had noted how the school was battling with the department over a two-year renovation project, which had run into its fifth year.

The only explanation from the department was that there was a delay due to lack of manpower dedicated to the project.

For parents, Bloem said their biggest concern was education for their children.

He said he feared learning would be compromised if learners were not able to use the audiovisual learning equipment at the school.

Mabona said the department had started a new procurement process to include works on the staircase.

“We have already prepared the specification and quantities towards the conclusion of the procurement process. It is anticipated that the works will be undertaken and concluded within this month,” he said.

But seeing their learners returned to their main building was something they said they would have to wait to see before celebrating. Bloem said they had knocked on the department's doors for months on end and been given empty promises.

“I think the only thing we can say at the moment is that we are happy they are doing something but we will have to wait to see if they deliver this time.”

Pretoria News