Tharabollo Secondary School in Palm Springs, south of Joburg, near Orange Farm, was vandalised during the national lockdown.     Itumeleng English African News Agency (ANA)
Tharabollo Secondary School in Palm Springs, south of Joburg, near Orange Farm, was vandalised during the national lockdown. Itumeleng English African News Agency (ANA)

No windows, no electricity, this Vaal high school is not ready to reopen next week

By Tebogo Monama Time of article published Jun 4, 2020

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Johannesburg - With only four days before schools reopen, Tharabollo Secondary School in the Vaal remains a shell without electricity after it was vandalised.

The school is one of the more than 300 in Gauteng that have been broken into since the lockdown started in March. Thugs broke into the school and vandalised the property and stole some of their computers.

Despite promises by the Gauteng Education Department that all damaged schools would be renovated and fixed before the academic year resumes next week, this has not been done.

After a week’s delay, Grades 7 and 12 learners are expected back at school after an extended break from March because of the national lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The school governing body (SGB) at Tharabollo said it was worried about how the school would be able to keep their children safe when they don’t have windows or electricity.

“We don’t have electricity. We don’t even have security. How can school start?” asked SGB chairperson Stompie Motshwening.

Some of the conditions the department has put in place for the reopening of schools include the provision of clean water, electricity and security.

Tharabollo Secondary School in Palm Springs, south of Joburg, near Orange Farm, was vandalised during the national lockdown. Picture: Itumeleng English African News Agency (ANA)
Tharabollo Secondary School in Palm Springs, south of Joburg, near Orange Farm, was vandalised during the national lockdown. Picture: Itumeleng English African News Agency (ANA)

The SGB also said they have not yet been allocated the youth brigades that are supposed to be sent to schools to assist in stop the spread of the virus by checking and recording teachers and learners’ temperatures and ensuring social distancing within the school.

“The department has spoken about people who are supposed to be sent to schools to help sanitise the children. We haven’t received any of them. Who will sanitise the children?

“If we still don’t have all of these things how can school start on Monday? We were supposed to start the past Monday but none of those things we sent.

“I doubt the department will be able to make sure everything is okay before Monday,” Motshwening said.

Asked whether she thought school would reopen on Monday, she said: “As a parent, I don’t see how that can happen, but it will be up to the teachers.”

Gauteng Education spokesperson Steve Mabona refused to comment on how many schools in the province have still not been fixed nor on how many don’t have water and electricity. He did not want to explain what contingency plans his department had for schools that are not ready for occupation by Monday.

The department has previously said it received more than 300 000 applications for the youth brigade and have trained about 2000 of those who had been shortlisted.

The Star

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