Millions blown on school built

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Millions blown on school built on wetland in Tembisa

In a classic case of ‘money down the drain,’ the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development has to date spent R82 million on the yet to be occupied school.

Millions blown on school built

Image: Wikimedia Commons

The Gauteng provincial government is considering laying criminal charges against officials of its own Department of Infrastructure Development as well as the contractor involved in the construction of a R82 million school on a wetland in Mayibuye, Tembisa.

The decision was taken during a joint meeting of Infrastructure Development and Education where members of both Committees unanimously endorsed the move.

The issue came to light following an oversight visit to the Mayibuye Primary School on 21 August 2020, as part of its programme assessing the standard and quality of work done by contractors in infrastructure projects in the province.

Very expensive ‘white elephant’

The multi-million rand ‘state-of-the-art school, which was supposed to be occupied in 2017, stands as a white elephant after the Department failed to obtain an occupancy certificate because of the ‘dangerous conditions’ which the school was built on.

Gauteng’s infrastructure Development Department has to date spend R82 million on the school.

The infrastructure development committee said the school was constructed in contravention of the National Building Regulations and Building Standard Act. 

“In its assessment of the school, the Committee came to the conclusion that the occupancy of the school might be a death trap to learners and educators as the wetland has the possibility to weaken the building structure which might collapse on those occupying it.”

Whatever happens, the Gauteng Provincial Government has two options: Spend millions more millions remedying the situation or demolishing the building, as it is deemed dangerous for occupation, meaning the millions already invested literally goes down the drain. 

As a result of not being occupied and neglected for over 3 years, the school structure continues to crumble, with many defects such as collapsing ceilings, cracking tiles and walls, as well as flooding water around the school.

Taking legal action

The Committee is of the view that appropriate action must be taken against those who were involved in the wastage caused by building a school on a waterlogged site, and wants Gauteng Premier David Makhura to institute an investigation that will lead to disciplinary action against officials responsible. 

Failure to do so, they say, will signal a wrong message about the lack of accountability and consequence management in the province.

“It is evident that the Contractor and the Department might have ignored geotechnical reports and quality control processes that could have exposed the site conditions and the prevention of any structure being erected on site.” 

“It appears to be a case of profit being placed before the interest and lives of learners and educators and this should have never been allowed to happen. Greed and profit making seems to be at the centre of the reckless decision to continue construction while there were indications of the dangers of such actions.”

The Committee said the dodgy school has left the community of Mayibuye hopeless and reverses the gains of the work the Gauteng Provincial Government has made in constructing state of the art schools in the Province.