The Democratic Alliance (DA) has questioned Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi’s lack of progress in eradicating asbestos schools in Gauteng.
The DA Shadow MEC for Gauteng Education, Khume Ramulifho, said his party is going to submit proposal during budget debates to put pressure on Lesufi to fulfil promises he made.
Lesufi said he will ensure that all asbestos schools and classrooms in Gauteng are demolished and rebuilt with brick-and-mortar structures before end of this term. The MEC previously announced that his department will replace 25 asbestos schools within the next five years.
At the time, the MEC said there is a budget of around R39 million that has been allocated in the 2021/2022 financial year to replace 25 schools built predominantly of asbestos.
“Of these 25 asbestos schools identified, only two are in the construction phase while ten are in the feasibility stage; six schools are in the inception stage,” said Ramulifho.
Ramulifho said two schools are in the conceptual phase while three schools are in the design stage. One school is in the tender preparation stage and another one is in the retention stage.
In 2019, the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) threatened to take Lesufi to court over the 250 schools in the province still built entirely, or partially, with asbestos.
Sadtu Provincial Secretary in Gauteng, Tseliso Ledimo, says they are aware of the mandate of the Gauteng Department of Education to eradicate schools built with asbestos.
“We, however, are not privy to the report about what has delayed the process but what we do appreciate that we have seen commitment from the GDE,” said Ledimo.
Ledimo said SADTU is happy with the new type of schools built in Gauteng.
“These are fully fleshed proper schools with all the amenities, and we think the rest of the schools in the pipeline will be of the same nature,” added Ledimo.