Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape face major problems of shack schools and classroom backlogs.

This was said by Public Works Minister Geoff Doidge on Sunday.

Doidge was speaking at the official handing over of the R6million state-of-the-art St Faiths Primary School in Highflats on the south coast to the community.

The school was constructed by the community in 2003, using wood and mud.

But the shack structure did not last as heavy rains brought it crumbling down, leading to intermittent closures.

Pupils were being taught in a tent and a wobbly wooden structure.

Florence Gumbi, the principal, and the governing body went on a fundraising drive, and the Independent Development Trust (IDT) came to their rescue.

The upgraded school boasts three classrooms, 14 toilets, a nutritional facility, an early childhood development classroom and an administration block.

The school will also boast a paved parking area, electricity and fencing.

"KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape are the worst provinces with shack schools.

"You find schools that are just mud structures, which is something we are trying to eradicate," said Doidge.

He said three more schools will be revamped in Ulundi, Abaqulusi and Umzikhulu.

"We will try and raise the bar in the next five years to eradicate more shack schools because this has a negative impact on children attending schools."

IDT chairperson Pumla Radebe said R150million has been set aside by her organisation to help reconstruct schools in the country.

R34million has been allocated to KwaZulu-Natal.

Gumbi said a major problem was that on rainy days classes had to be called off.

"We can't risk teaching in those mud shacks because if they collapsed we would be held responsible."