Weeks after the tragedy at in a school at Hoërskool Driehoek, which led to the death of four school students, 70 more schools have been found to have huge structural defect.
According to News24. A tragedy similar to the one at Hoërskool Driehoek is possible at 70 schools in South Africa, after they were red-flagged for structural defects.
On February 1, the country mourned the death of four pupils after a concrete slab above a corridor at Hoërskool Driehoek in Vanderbijlpark collapsed. Twenty-two pupils were injured and some of the injuries were severe injuries.
On Friday, the Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysersunie (SAOU) released its national survey on school infrastructure where it identified 70 schools nationally as on the brink of collapse.
SAOU’s director of operations Johan Kruger said Hoërskool Driehoek was not among the 70 schools.
The majority were in Gauteng and Mpumalanga.
Kruger said principals of the 70 schools have asked him not to release the names of the institutions, fearing that it could cause panic.
“Last week, we visited another school in Gauteng where we found a block of classroom[s] with serious structural problems. The principal of the school then shut down the affected block. The principal also asked us not to reveal the identity of the school.
“The principal showed us letters of communication between the school and the department,” he said.
The survey was launched following the Hoërskool Driehoek tragedy.
“The SAOU launched a national survey to obtain a more informed picture of the degree of compliance with the regulations relating to Minimum Uniform Norms and Standards by the Public School Infrastructure.
“Hoërskool Roodepoort for example, is just one other instance where the school must operate without 18 classes due to the deteriorated condition of the building.
“Arising from the survey to date, the SAOU has identified more than 70 schools with infrastructure problems that can be categorised as requiring urgent and serious attention to parts of the buildings. Significantly, the average age of the schools that participated in this survey is 68 years,” he said.
Schools from Quintile 1 to 5 participated in the survey. Schools in the poorest communities are classified as Quintile 1 and schools serving the wealthiest communities are classified as Quintile 5.
Infrastructure that schools deemed to be very dangerous included roofs, corridors, staircases, serious cracks on walls, asbestos classes and sewage.
Kruger said 68.3% of the infrastructure problems were reported to the department and 31.7% of were not. And, 71.7% of the schools did not receive any feedback.
The average amount schools spent on maintenance of buildings over a period of three years was R986 559.15.
“The SAOU will monitor the situation closely and where possible, pay site visits to the affected schools in order to assist with the submission of complaints or requests for maintenance by the department,” he said.