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New school to be finally used after 7 years

Sewerage has been spilling into the schoolyard

Jeanette Chabalala Senior Reporter
Mayibuye Primary School pupils in Midrand will be able to use their school from next year.
Mayibuye Primary School pupils in Midrand will be able to use their school from next year.

The state will spend an additional R2.8m to fix a school that has been a white elephant for seven years. 

The Gauteng government spent R98m to build Mayibuye Primary School outside Tembisa, which was completed in 2017 but could not be occupied because it had been built on a wetland, stopping the City of Joburg from issuing it with an occupancy certificate over safety issues. 

On Tuesday, the Gauteng provincial legislature's portfolio committee on infrastructure development and property management revisited the school which was meant to accommodate about 2,000 pupils from the impoverished Mayibuye informal settlement. 

The committee, led by chairperson Bones Modise, was told that a new company had been hired in September to finish off the work that was not completed by the previous company in 2017. 

A representative from the new contractor, Urban Plan Consulting, told Sowetan yesterday that its scope of work includes redirecting the sewer line, laying new flooring in classrooms, installing electrical wiring, doors and aircons and construction of a driveway and sidewalk including a drop-off zone.   

The work is expected to be finished in January next year.

Modise said that at first there was a belief that the area was waterlogged and that the city should have clarified that the reason it did not issue the occupancy certificate was because of a sewer line that was crossing the school.  

"The sewer has its own diseases that would have affected the children and therefore we took an undertaking that we will assist in ensuring that that sewer is directed so that it goes underground, it goes somewhere else, which I believe now has been attended to.

"Now what is happening in the school is touch-ups and finish-ups so that in 2024 when the calendar starts, those children of Mayibuye who are currently temporarily occupying some makeshift mobile classrooms are able to use that school." 

Modise also expressed dissatisfaction with how the previous contractor handled the work.

"Had the [previous] contractor done what was supposed to have been done on that school, the community would have benefited so much from that school. We are lawmakers, this really hurts and is there something wrong with our laws? How is it that people can get a contract, not finish, get paid, and go home and there are no repercussions or consequence management, why is it that way?" 

When asked about what action his committee has taken about the contractor or government officials in charge of the project, Modise said: "We [the committee] only make recommendations."

He did not go into details about their recommendations. 

In 2020, the SA Human Rights Commission, which also conducted a site visit, said the school was not built on a wetland but that there was a sewerage adjacent to the school which was spilling into the schoolyard. 

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