20000 without classrooms

AS MILLIONS of South African children reopen schools today, thousands in Limpopo will still have to brave the weather under trees or in open spaces because they do not have classrooms.

This after their schools were destroyed by severe storms during the festive season.

About 218 primary and secondary schools were flattened by the storm that hit the area from Christmas up to the new year.

As a result nearly 20000 children were left without classrooms.

Rapule Matsane, manager for infrastructure planning at the provincial department of education, said yesterday that the first storm hit the province on November 21 and destroyed 106 schools.

Matsane said two months later, another storm destroyed 59 schools, followed by another one in April that left 39 schools damaged.

"As if that was not enough, 14 schools were again flattened by another storm that started a few days before Christmas and lasted until the new year," Matsane said.

He said the department had managed to rebuild 69 of the damaged schools but the department needed R430million to rebuild all the schools affected by the storms.

"We are in the process of rebuilding them and by March most of them will have been attended to, " Matsane said.

He said the plan was to ensure that by the end of this financial year all children had classrooms.

"In the meantime we have bought about 80 mobile classrooms. We will deliver them to schools with a shortage of classrooms," Matsane said.