Garlandale Primary School maintenance staff ‘not pulling their weight’

The state of the playground at the school has also been brought under the department’s attention.

The state of the playground at the school has also been brought under the department’s attention.

Published Feb 25, 2024


Garlandale Primary School's governing body and the alumni have made a plea for the maintenance and upkeep of the school to be made a priority.

According to the school alumni chairperson Errol Thompson, who was a learner at Garlandale in the 1960s, the alumni became aware of the state of the Grade R playground, as well as the boys toilet while refurbishing the school library.

“Take pride in the school, it is the place where the children spend majority of their time.”

“As the alumni we decided to help the school with the library, while we were still busy upgrading the library, we were alluded to the fact that the grade R playground has been out of action for about 15 years.

“When we heard this, we assumed it meant that the park was still usable but just needed a bit of clean up, however what we found was a complete mess.

“The swings, sliding boards, bridges, everything was broken. The trees were growing onto the roof and the gutters were filled with dirt, which is also a safety hazard,” Thompson said.

The team immediately started clean-up operations and are now assessing the playground in order to repair it.

While doing this the team were also led to the boys toilets which was also in a state of disrepair.

“The urinals were filthy, in both corners we noticed a growth of bacteria, with a bad stench and the aluminium steel rusted, this means it was not maintained.

“It's not that we are complaining but the school has maintenance staff who are employed to care for the school.

“We do not have a problem with helping, because we are doing it out of our own pockets but the problem is that certain of these staff are not pulling their weight.

“Besides, children spend most of their time at school, it is a place that should be taken care of,” he says.

Thompson says they also reported the situation to the Western Cape Education Department who sent out the circuit manager to assess the situation.

“The manager was also shocked to see the state of the school, according to him, the department instructed the maintenance workers to fix the urinals a while back already, so now it's a waiting game again,” he says.

The state of the urinals at the school has also been brought under the department’s attention. Picture: Supplied

Mark Blaauw, who served as the school’s Student Governing Body (SBG) chairperson for four years, said during his term at the school, he also experienced the same struggles with the maintenance staff.

“There is only one out of the three who pulls their weight, the other two blatantly ignore instructions given to them and even when we addressed the problem a numerous amount of times we were shown disapproval.

“Our main concern has always been the children. Any parent would expect their child to use a toilet that is well maintained, or be in an environment where they can enjoy their time at school, but these workers even though they are getting paid are just not showing interest in making it happen,” he says.

“We've addressed this a numerous amount of times.”

Blaauw says while the school keeps to its good standards of learning and teaching, he believes that the department needs to look into the workers and their conduct.

“If they do not, we fear that this behaviour will continue with the new SGB.

“At the moment we have the alumni, one of the maintenance staff as well as some of us and parents who are maintaining the school, which shouldn’t be the case,” he said.

Western Cape Education Department Millicent Merton confirmed that the department is aware of the matter.

“I can confirm that the matter has been reported to the department and is being investigated,” she said.