15 March 2017
The DA in the Northern Cape will request that upgrades to the hostel at the Garies High School in Kamiesberg be investigated by the Public Protector and that answers must be given to Parliament’s SCOPA. Work that was supposed to have been completed at the start of the 2016 academic year is still only halfway done and of a very poor quality.
The school has therefore been shut down by parents. Children have been removed from the hostel for fear of their safety, including the grade twelve learners who must write record examinations. The parents of learners in town are also keeping their children home in solidarity.
Any parent would be angry about the deplorable living conditions at the hostel. There are exposed live wires, conditions are unhygienic and learners are still expected to sleep in storage rooms without ventilation. This was reported to the Northern Cape Department of Education as far back as February 2016. Despite public commitments in this regard, it appears that nothing has been done since to ensure that learners are living in acceptable conditions while the upgrades are completed.
There has been no sign of the contractor since December 2016. The work that has been done so far has been of a very low standard. It is our understanding that the R9.7 million awarded to the contractor has already been spent, even though half the work remains incomplete.
We have a lot of questions on the management of the contract. It would be interesting to know, for example, why R300 000 for upgrades to the electrical infrastructure was spent only to put up two geysers.
Our local and provincial public representatives have repeatedly raised concerns with the Northern Cape Department of Education, but to no avail. It is time for the matter to be escalated to a national level. It is through education that we help our lost generation of youth to break free from the cycle of poverty and it is through education that we expand opportunities to our children.
Veronica van Dyk
DA Constituency Head for Namaqualand
083 236 2152
071 251 5558