The hugely expensive special needs school, LSEN Nokuthula School in Lyndhurst, remains unopened.
The Democratic Alliance Gauteng shadow MEC for Education Khume Ramulifho paid a visit to the R300-million school on 24 July and was disappointed to find it non-operational.
The school was officially opened in October last year by the Gauteng Premier David Makhura, Gauteng Department of Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi and the MEC for Infrastructure Development, Jacob Mamabolo. The school was also the venue for the release of Gauteng matric results for 2017 earlier this year.
Upon entering the school, there is security stationed at the entrance, and uncut grass on the sports fields and along the walkways. The school dormitories have furniture and beds still wrapped in plastic.
Ramulifho said, “The last word we heard from the MEC [Lesufi] that the school would be open this term. So I expected last week that the learners would have been relocated here. Unfortunately, it’s not the case.”
He added that he was very disappointed to see an empty school as the occupancy certificate for six months had been issued by the City of Johannesburg to the Department of Education. “We will be taking this matter up with the MEC to ask what is the delay. We waste resources investing in a facility for more learners when they don’t benefit from it and taxpayers’ money is being spent.”
He said the Gauteng Education Department sent a request for approval for the school after the building had been completed. “The municipality said that they could not just approve. They had to go through all their normal processes to approve the structure.”
Spokesperson for the Gauteng Department of Education Steve Mabona said, “It must be noted that there were delays in the issuing of the occupational certificate for Nokuthula LSEN by the City of Johannesburg. However, we can confirm that the said document was ultimately issued accordingly.”
Mabona added that the school caters to learners with special needs and the Department of Education does not want to rush the move. “The relocation plan, among others, focuses on classroom allocation, verification of equipment and furniture, and learner orientation, which is key for learners with special needs, as well as viewing of the school by all stakeholders.”
He concluded that the anticipated official occupation date is 1 September.
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