The Free State government has pledged to have eight new schools in the province completed by the end of the financial year.
During her State of the Province address yesterday, Premier Sisi Ntombela said the completion of the schools, located in the towns of Zastron, Bethlehem, Clocolan, Warden, Hertzogville, Botshabelo, Hoopstad and the city of Bloemfontein shows how important the speedy delivery of school infrastructure is to the provincial government.
Ntombela warned contractors that action will be taken against those who do not meet the set completion dates.
This, while parents at the Pholoho Special School in Bloemfontein were threatening to shut the school down when the new term resumes.
The parents at the school see the rumoured outgoing principal, Joyce Thothela, as the root of the plethora of problems at the educational facility.
Chief among these issues were a block of eight classes at the school, the ceilings of which are falling apart.
One parent said there was an incident when one of the above-mentioned classrooms collapsed during school time.
No one was injured, but the school governing body (SGB) asked Thothela to inform the education department about the matter and request mobile classrooms. This did not happen, prompting questions whether the principal even forwarded the request to the department.
While parents see Thothela as the source of the problems at the school, including the infrastructural issues, the department’s spokesperson, Howard Ndaba, says the matters aren’t related at all.
“The issue of infrastructure and the expulsion of the principal by the SGB are unrelated.”
Ntombela also expressed concern about the low growth rate of 0.9% in 2019, minimal investment and the complex trade imbalance in the province.
Ntombela said this hampered ability to grow the economy.
She said her government would contribute towards youth development through sector-specific incubation and mentorship programmes.
She is also expected to enter into a social pact with businesses in fighting youth unemployment and poverty by strengthening relationships and supply chain linkages with business.