By Lerato Ngwenya
Fuming parents have removed more than 940 learners and teachers from Songeni Primary School in Songeni Village, just near Bushbuckridge because they feel the school is a death trap.
Parents accused the Mpumalanga Department of Education of failing to keep its promise of building them a new school since 2013 and now their children have to be taught in classrooms that look like they could collapse at any moment
“We’ve been engaging with the Department about this problem. We feel that the eight of the classrooms are a death trap. They can collapse on our kids at any time. The building is falling apart. There are huge cracks on the walls, and the roof is bad and leaking,” said school governing body (SGB) chairwoman, Lydia Mnisi.
She further said that In 2015 the Department demolished one block with five classrooms and promised to rebuild it, but to date nothing has happened. They keep sending officials, who just do assessments, take photos and leave.
A parent, Mahlatsi Mathibela, said they were sick and tired of being misled by the Department.
“We’ve had enough of the Department’s empty promises. They’re aware of the school’s condition. The classes were built in the 60s and until today, the department has never bothered to fix the damaged classes or build us a new school,” he said.
He said the protest will continue until the Department ensures classrooms are safe and gives them the date of the construction of the new school.
Ward councillor of ward 97 Ananias Mrara said, bespite having visited the school before, he was never told about the problem. "I am waiting for the Department to show us budget allocations for the construction of the new school,” said Mrara.
Mpumalanga education spokesperson Jasper Zwane said they were aware of the situation at the school and that they have made a commitment to deliver more mobile classrooms in the future.