Western Cape department fails to meet KwaFaku school construction deadline



24/01/2020
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Cape Town – The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has failed to meet its deadline to complete construction at KwaFaku Primary School in Lower Crossroads, which was made of styrofoam.

As a result, many pupils who hoped to enrol were turned away.

More than 1 000 pupils were expected to occupy newly built classrooms when the school reopened for the 2020 academic year. However, only the Grade Rs could move into a completed section.

The rest of the pupils are still in mobile classrooms, which residents said were overcrowded.

The department has now set yet another date for completion, which is sometime in April.

KwaFaku, which was described as a “ticking time bomb”, made headlines in 2017 after parents, teachers and pupils protested against the styrofoam-built school which made children sick.

The WCED was forced to demolish the school in June 2018 following health and safety concerns, and had to accommodate pupils in mobile classrooms.

Project steering committee member Siphokuhle Henisi said there was no way the construction would be completed in the first term.

“The school is experiencing overcrowding issues because it requested a few prefab classrooms with expectations of moving into a new building this month.

“It had to turn away many pupils who hoped to enrol. There have been many problems involving subcontractors, residents and the main constructor. If we are being realistic everything could be completed in the mid-term,” said Henisi.

Community leader Buzwe Mazambana blamed subcontractors’ shoddy work.

WCED spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said it was “unfortunate” there had been many delays to the construction.

“The Department of Transport and Public Works is on behalf of WCED, executing the construction of the new Kwa-Faku Primary School.

"There have been numerous challenges to date, including community dissatisfaction with employment opportunities and inclement weather.

"The second phase will be the removal of the mobile classrooms whereby pupils occupy the new school once it has been signed off and the establishment of a new sports field,” said Hammond.

The R80 million building will see the school accommodating about 1 200 Grade R-7 pupils. It will comprise 32 classrooms, two multi-purpose classrooms and a science laboratory.

Cape Times

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