MEC for education in Gauteng Panyaza Lesufi briefs the media . Nokuthula Mbatha African News Agency (ANA)
Johannesburg - The Gauteng Education Department has said one of its biggest challenges is an infrastructure backlog.

Gauteng Education Department MEC Panyaza Lesufi said on Tuesday that their infrastructure programme, which has come under close scrutiny, remains one of the toughest areas to deal with. 

"We have made substantial progress in this regard and we have reversed the historical infrastructure backlogs.

“We have identified and replaced unsafe structures such as pit latrines. We did not build asbestos schools but we have championed the cause to eradicate them. The Auditor-General confirms that our data on infrastructure is accurate and reliable.”

He said that, since 2014, the department had built more than 50 new schools.

In giving an update on the applications for admissions for the 2020 academic year, Lesufi said they were “mopping up” the issues.

This year’s application period left thousands of pupils without placement and parents frustrated. The department has been scrambling to ensure all pupils are placed.

He said all qualifying applicants who had submitted their documents had been placed.

“We have learned that most of the enquiries are from applicants who have not submitted documents, and those who are unhappy with placement. All enquiries are being resolved,” said Lesufi.

He said there were still space constraints in Lenasia, Mondeor, Meredale, Naturena, Midrand, Edenvale, Kempton Park, Pretoria North, Pretoria East, and Pretoria South. Parents in these areas had been encouraged to accept whatever placement they were given.

Lesufi said once all queries from parents who applied on time had been dealt with, the department would open for late applications, but only at schools that still had capacity.

“Parents who have submitted objections and appeals should note that these are being processed, and responses will be provided in due course. Most of the appeals are being resolved in consultation with affected parents.

“It is quite concerning that the majority of enquiries are related to applicants who have not submitted documents.

“It is paramount to note that placement cannot be processed without submission of documents. Parents will be given an opportunity to submit documents to facilitate placement,” said Lesufi.

The Star