School ceiling collapsed: Chiloane denies GDE failed to maintain infrastructure

Gauteng Education MEC Matome Chiloane. Picture: GDE Media

Johnathan Paoli

Gauteng Education MEC Matome Chiloane has denied reports that the department is failing to sort out decaying infrastructure at schools.

The statement comes after a group of Grade 6 pupils at Umthambeka Primary School in Tembisa were injured on Tuesday when a ceiling board in their classroom collapsed.

The Gauteng Education Department confirmed that 18 Grade 6 pupils sustained injuries and were rushed to nearby hospitals and said that two pupils are still recovering at medical facilities while the others were sent home.

GED Spokesperson Steve Mabona said the cause of the incident is being probed, but that it remained uncertain at this stage.

“The cause of the incident is uncertain at this stage. As such, we have launched an investigation into circumstances surrounding this incident. Further information will be acquired from the School Management Team, School Governing Body (SGB) and the district accordingly,” Mabona said.

The MEC vehemently denied allegations by some that the incident was an example of the department’s failure to actively ensure sustainability of school infrastructure.

“There are a number of schools that we’ve also earmarked for major refurbishments, and these are some of schools, like for instance, Umthambeka, is also earmarked for major refurbishments because the infrastructure is quite old,” Chiloane said.

This comes on the heels of an accusation by EFF member Naledi Chirwa-Mpungose accusing the department of mishandling funds intended to address the infrastructure challenges in township schools.

Chiloane arrived at Soshanguve on Wednesday in order to launch the Lethabong Maths, Science and ICT School of Specialisation with a focus on Automotive technologies, in partnership with BMW South Africa, this being the 34th school of its kind to be launched in the province.


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