More than 200 junior secondary school pupils are learning in stuffy, dark tents because a contractor tore down the roofs of their classrooms before he had completed new premises.
"Nobody knows until when the learners will be taking lessons in the dark, chilly and unventilated tents because the contractor has vowed not to resume construction until they are paid extra money," Johanna Molepo, the chairman of the school governing body of Bafedile Junior Secondary at Maubane in North West, told Sowetan.
She said the contractor had demanded an extra R180000 to complete the job on top of the R1,2 million donated by the Carousel Casino.
"He said prices of material had escalated since the beginning of the project, therefore the money paid would not cover the remaining construction," Molepo said.
The contractor, Dona Construction, pulled down the roofing despite an undertaking that renovations on the existing block would not begin until the new structure was ready for use.
Teachers told Sowetan that it was impossible to conduct lessons in the tents .
"Pupils are not concentrating and we do not have control of the classes. You do not know what is happening at the back," said a teacher who did not want to be named. "It is stuffy inside too."
The principal, who refused to give his name, said the education department was aware of the situation and negotiations were under way to rectify the matter.
But North West education department spokesman Thomas Raseala said the department was unaware of a crisis but would get to the bottom of it if there was one.
He said it appeared the contractor was taking advantage of the situation at the expense of the pupils.
Martin van Wyk, of Dona Construction, refused to comment and referred Sowetan to the provincial education department. Project consultant Bassie Theart denied that construction had stopped.