Learners’ complaints ignored at crumbling Tsakane school

“Every toilet has a crack,” says J.E Malepe Secondary learner Samkelo Mthethwa

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Most of the windows and doors of the prefab classrooms at J.E Malepe Secondary School in Tsakane, Brakpan are broken. Learners want the education department to renovate their school immediately. Photos: Tholakele Thabane

  • Learners at J.E Malepe Secondary School in Tsakane, Brakpan, are demanding that their school be renovated immediately.
  • They say the school is falling apart.
  • The Gauteng education department says it is aware of the complaints and conditions at the school.
  • The department says the school was given funds in 2021 for the construction of classrooms and a case of mismanagement of funds is being investigated.

Learners at J. E. Malepe Senior Secondary School in Tsakane, Brakpan, say their complaints about broken windows, doors, furniture, and toilets are going unheard.

The school is very old and has 1,642 learners. Staff and learners have been complaining about the school infrastructure since May 2022.

After a protest last year led by the Pan Africanist Student Organisation (PASO),the school and Gauteng Department of Education had promised to resolve the issues at the school, PASO said. But learners say nothing has been done.

All the toilet seats are broken. This one in the boys’ blocks is also filthy.

“It has become worse,” says learner Samkelo Mthethwa, who is PASO chairman. “Every toilet has a crack, the side can fall anytime soon.”

He said that when learners urinate on the first floor, the urine seeps through to the ground floor. The ablution area does not have a proper drainage system below the taps. When it rains, the school grounds become muddy and often flood. There is a hole on the first floor walkway to some of the classrooms.

Roofs and windows are broken.

The school directed GroundUp the Gauteng Department of Education. Department spokesman Steve Mabona said: “The department is aware of the infrastructure challenges at the school. We already escalated the matter to our Infrastructure Unit for assessment.”

Mabona confirmed that learners had sent complaints to the department last year and asked for the school to be completely refurbished. “The School Governing Body purchased additional chairs. The very learners are breaking the furniture and windows,” said Mabona. He said it is the school’s responsibility to take care of infrastructure like furniture.

The ablution area does not have a proper drainage system below the taps.

He said the school had received money to build brick and mortar classes in February 2021. He did not say how much. He also said the department was investigating a case of mismanagement of funds involving a former teacher. Mabona did not say whether the school would be getting more funds.

This article was done by The Open Journal Group for GroundUp.

TOPICS:  Education

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