Learners from Uitsig Senior Secondary School are scheduled to vacate the premises by the end of this week. The move follows a site inspection by the Department of Transport and Public Works (DTPW), which assessed the schools infrastructural condition. The assessment indicated that the facility is unsafe for continued occupation. While there is no indication that teachers and learners face an immediate threat, the WCED said that it would be irresponsible to allow continued occupation in unsafe facilities.
In response to the decision, last week the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) threatened to close De La Ray Road, alleging that the WCED is unconcerned about the plight of learners.
MEC for Education in the Western Cape Debbie Schafer explained that as result of continued vandalism, the structure is to be considered unsafe.
While the department has wanted to initiate the move for some time, she said that the COSATU has prevented the move from taking place.
“COSATU has said that we must place the learners in a school that has recently been replaced. We are saying, how can we move learners from an unsuitable structure to another structure that is also considered an unsuitable structure – this is not a long term solution.”
While the majority of the learners are unhappy about the move, one matriculant says that the relocation is for their well-being.
“My school is falling apart, parts of the stairs are cracking and it’s not safe anymore.”
Though maintenance has been done on the school periodically, the school structure has deteriorated. Schafer, therefore, explained that the entire structure needs to be replaced.
Staff and learners have been given until the end of the week to vacate the premises, while the site of relocation is yet to be confirmed.
“Officials are on the scene every day to negotiate with the parents and the school to find a suitable solution as quickly as possible to ensure that the academic programme can continue,” Schafer continued.