The DA has slammed the Gauteng departments of education and infrastructure development for failing to resolve the payment of contractors hired to build Nancefield Primary School after a non-payment dispute between the departments and the contractors.
The DA’s Gauteng education spokesperson, Sergio Dos Santos, said these departments must “urgently resolve” the issue of non-payment of rent for mobile classrooms at the school to ensure uninterrupted learning and teaching.
Two weeks ago, “The Star” reported that a payment dispute between Thovu Construction and the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development threatened to disrupt learning after the company promised to remove the mobile classrooms it rented from a third party.
Dos Santos said this issue had created uncertainty for parents and teachers because the service provider continually threatened to remove the mobile classrooms. The two departments owed the service provider R2 million, and they had only paid R200 000.
On Tuesday, the DA visited the school to assess learning and teaching.
“We were informed of theft incidents reported during the school holidays. The electricity cables from the mobile classrooms and building materials were stolen,” Dos Santos said.
According to Dos Santos, the school did not have enough security to ensure the safety of learners and infrastructure.
“There are only two security guards at the school, which is not adequate to monitor the whole school, including the construction site. The dispute between the service provider and the department over mobile classrooms is causing panic among the parents, some of whom have no option but to transfer their children to other schools with adequate infrastructure,” he said.
“Furthermore, we were informed that the service provider arrived at the school after we had left, wanting to remove the mobile classrooms, and was not allowed into the school premises. This is because the service provider did not have a legal document that permitted them to remove the mobile classrooms,” Dos Santos said.
Last week, the Education Department said it was not involved in the matter as the dispute was between the service provider and the Department of
Infrastructure Development spokesperson Alfred Nhlapho said the parties had resolved the issues affecting delivery of services at the school.
“The department has intervened in the interest of service delivery on a matter which was entirely a dispute between the main contractor and sub-contractor. A meeting was held with all parties today and the matters has been resolved,” Nhlapho said.