GDE has no plan to completely eradicate asbestos schools – Khume Ramulifho

DA MPL says it is unacceptable that the budget gets returned to Treasury

Gauteng Department of Education has no plan to completely eradicate asbestos schools

17 October 2019

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is concerned that the Gauteng Department of Education is failing to prioritise the eradication of asbestos schools in the province.

The department is failing to honour its commitment to eradicate asbestos schools and replace them with brick and mortar structures.

According to the Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi, the department intends replacing 26 asbestos schools within the next 5 years. MEC Lesufi was responding to the DA’s written questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.

Of the 26 targeted asbestos schools, only three schools are under construction which are Noordgesig Primary School, Faresani Primary School and Rust-Ter- Vaal Secondary School while three schools are still out to tender. The other 20 identified asbestos schools are still in the planning phase.

There are also 257 schools in the province that still have partial asbestos structures and the department does not have a plan as to when they will be eradicated.

The fact that the department has not yet prioritised all schools with partial asbestos structures indicates that they are not serious about eradicating asbestos schools in the province.

It is grossly negligent of the department not to fast-track the process of replacing all partial asbestos schools.

These schools continue to pose a health and safety risk to both learners and teachers.

The department does not have financial challenges as they failed to spend almost R1 billion in the 2018/19 financial year, yet it lacks the ability to manage its finances and to prioritise infrastructure needs.

It is unacceptable that the budget gets returned to the Treasury while the demand to fix infrastructure remains high.

The DA will continue to monitor progress in terms of the replacement of the asbestos schools with brick and mortar structures to ensure that all 26 asbestos schools are replaced within the next 5 years.

Issued by Khume Ramulifho, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education, 17 October 2019