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Basic Education dept briefs Parliament on school infrastructure

The Department of Basic Education briefed Parliament in February on progress in improving the infrastructure of schools. The poor state of infrastructure was highlighted last year when several parent associations took the Department to court because of the failure to eradicate mud structures and ensure basic necessities such as water and sanitation at a number of schools in the Eastern Cape.

The Department has a dedicated infrastructure development programme called the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI).

Progress on Inappropriate School Structures

Contractors have been appointed to construct 49 schools in the Eastern Cape, with an expected completion date of 31 August 2012. These will be small- and medium-sized primary schools that include Grade R spaces, science labs and multi-media centres. Rainwater tanks, ablution facilities, assembly and play areas will also be provided. The cost: R675-million.

Progress on water and sanitation

Contractors have been appointed to provide water and sanitation to 88 schools in the Eastern Cape and 78 schools in Limpopo by 30 March 2012. KZN has also implemented water and sanitation projects to the value of R35,4-million. The Free State is implementing 38 projects for water and 14 for sanitation to the value of R1,9-million.

Electrification programme

One-hundred-and-twenty-five projects have been planned to address electrification needs at 104 schools in the Eastern Cape, 18 in Mpumalanga and 3 in Limpopo.

The ASIDI Programme Support Unit is in the process of scoping for the remaining ASIDI targets.

The eradication of basic service backlogs at schools is targeted to take place in 2012/12. The balance of inappropriate schools will be eradicated by 2013/14.

Current backlog:

  • 496 inappropriate structures
  • 1257 water services
  • 878 school electrification
  • 868 school sanitation
  • 50 specialist classrooms.

Concerns were expressed about the level of under-expenditure of infrastructure budgets in provinces such as the Eastern Cape.

Click here to view a copy of the minutes of the briefing.