After the Limpopo education department took no action for 10 years to repair a dilapidated school, the parents called in the labour department. It shut down several parts of the school.
The pupils are now crowded into the remaining classrooms, according to GroundUp.
In accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Limpopo Department of Employment and Labour closed blocks E and F and a classroom in block A of Kgwatlhele Primary School in Mokopane.
This was “due to the unsafe conditions of the building structure that are badly cracked and pose a danger to learners and teachers (sic)”, said Lerato Mashamba, spokesperson for the department.
The library and a storeroom were also closed.
Established in 1981, the school has 608 pupils and 17 teachers.
“We contacted the Department of Basic Education several times but it did not take this seriously. It has been more than 10 years, and the cracks now pose a danger to our learners and teachers,” said Alfred Mahlaba, school governing body (SGB) chairperson.
Pupils have been relocated to the remaining classrooms, which are now overcrowded. There are 77 pupils in the Grade 2 class, 75 in the Grade 3 class, 74 in Grade 4, 72 in Grade 1, and 64 in the Grade R classroom.
Teachers said they struggled to give sufficient attention to every pupil because classes were so crowded.
“As an immediate solution, the district director is working with the school to adjust the timetable and seating arrangements to accommodate learners in other classrooms in the school, while also maintaining the required social distance,” said Tidimalo Chuene from the Limpopo Department of Basic Education.
The Education District Infrastructure unit was trying to procure mobile classrooms, she said.
Chuene said the school would be added to the list of infrastructure projects for the 2023-’24 financial year.