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Edu Dept sits with R177 million meant to fix schools

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With a budget allocation of R177 million to fix all schools across the province and preference to be given to the torched schools in Vuwani, only eight out of 31 schools in Vuwani have reportedly been refurbished thus far although the funds were allocated in 2016/17 financial year and contractors were reportedly appointed on
15 February last year already.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Limpopo accuses both Minister for Basic Education, Angie Motshekga and Education MEC Ishmael Kgetjepe for the alleged failure to accelerate the process of rebuilding the remaining schools and ignoring their responsibilities of ensuring that children get the best possible education.
DA Provincial Leader, Jacques Smalle reportedly said the department had confirmed in a written reply to the party that the money was allocated in the 2016/17 financial year, but only eight out of the 31 schools were refurbished. He further said the party can confirm that the Department of Public Works, Roads and Infrastructure conducted an assessment that estimated the damage to all 31 schools to be worth R177,5 million. However, the assessment report further indicated that the upgrades and maintenance required in the same schools including the riot damages amounted to R462 million, explained Smalle.
“The contracts for these projects were awarded on 15 February 2017 but it is extremely astonishing that a year on, only eight schools were attended to. The DA’s biggest concern is that the R177 million budgeted falls short of the required R462 million. DA will write follow-up questions to the department seeking a full report on how the budgeted money was spent, plans to provide the shortfall in money required to repair all the schools and to provide further information and deadlines on rebuilding the remaining schools before the winter season,” he stated.
Departmental spokesperson Sam Makondo also confirmed that R177 million was budgeted to fix all schools in Limpopo but could not reveal as to how many schools were fixed thus far as he responded to the question by saying: “Work is continuing in this regard across the province.” When asked as to how much has been used so far, Makondo opted not to comment.

Story: ENDY SENYATSI
>>endy@observer.co.za