Government slow to fix storm damaged school

Teacher Nontuthuzelo Xoki laments the gaping holes in the roof. Photo by Mbulelo Sisulu

Learning and teaching is compromised in one of the schools affected by a recent storm in the Eastern Cape. The Department of Education claims that Disaster Management has not finalised the report, three weeks after the school’s roof was damaged.

Butterworth, South Africa

Three weeks ago, Vuluhlanga Senior Secondary School in Gcuwa in the Eastern Cape was hit by a storm. Now teachers and learners are suffering because the storm damaged the roof of the classrooms.

Teacher Nontuthuzelo Xoki says the situation is very bad at Vuluhlanga. “The main problem now after the storm our learners are suffering a lot when it comes to their studies. If there is rain we do not teach because roofs are leaking so learners have to go home. And if there was rain last night then in the morning our learners have to clean the classrooms. So three periods that were supposed to take place in the morning do not take place on that particular day because the learners were busy cleaning the classrooms. And most of the time in the morning the first periods are the most important subjects namely Maths and Science,” she said.

Xoki mentioned the fact that it is very painful to be in a rural school. “I am saying this because if this disaster was happened in suburbs or in town, government was going to provide temporary classrooms very fast. In the rural areas we want government to take care of us as government do to the people of urban areas,” she said.

Learner Xolisa Mfanekiso (17) expressed her pain about the storm that hit the school.

“We are in a bad situation as the learners of this school particular those who are doing Grade 12. In March, we have to write exams although there are times when we miss lessons because of rain. While you are in classroom you can see that the ceiling can fall down anytime because it was hit by the storm. In terms of the syllabus we are behind other schools because of this situation. We ask government to help us in this matter,” she said.

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SGB chairperson Edison April says he is running out of words to explain the pain of the school. “We are going to have a meeting to discuss this matter. We want government to help us,” he said.

Eastern Cape Education spokesperson, Mali Mtima says disaster management has visited the school to assess the situation. “So after they finished the assessment they are going to take it to us. They are going to tell us what needs to be done in the school then we take it from there. At the moment there’s nothing we can do until we get the report of assessment,” he said.

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