Some classrooms at Bantuvukani Elementary School in Lamontville have windows and ceilings blown out. Others have no doors.

Overcrowded classrooms, broken ceilings, cracked walls and rooms without doors are just some of the problems at Bantuvukani Primary School in Lamontville, south of Durban.

The school is one of the oldest in Lamontville. The dilapidated building suffered even more damage after the 2017 storm.

Documents show that in 2018, a company was hired to carry out renovations at the school. But last month, parents and students protested for the department to fix the poor condition of their school.

More than 60 students are packed into one classroom at Bantuvukani Primary School in Lamontville, south of Durban. The school is one of the oldest in Lamontville and has fallen into disrepair.

Some classrooms have broken windows and ceilings. Others have no doors. Classrooms without doors have protective gates wrapped in plastic to keep out cold wind and rain. The school is also without electricity.

Bantuvukani has 1,100 students.

On July 21, parents and students locked the gates to demand that the regional education department fix the poor state of the school. They accused the department of reneging on its promise to repair the school after it was badly damaged in a storm in October 2017.

The school is falling apart

According to the chairman of the school governing body (SGB), Tami Radebe, the department appointed a contractor in 2018 but the work was never completed.

” [incomplete] the work was done so badly that we had to close some places in the school so that the children would not get hurt,” he said. Radebe said classrooms without doors had also become a big security risk because of “stray dogs and a lot of wild monkeys, who sometimes come into the classroom.”

Mlungisi Mbele, a parent and deputy chairman of the SGB, said R1.4 million was allocated to the school to repair and upgrade electrical equipment alone. The wiring work led to a fire and power was never restored. “The whole school was plunged into darkness. “Once, parents gave money to a neighbor to run an extension cord from her house to the school,” he said.

Mbele explained that the school was declared free in 2014. “The school serves a very poor community,” he said.

He said there are 60 to 70 students in one classroom “because some of the buildings are unsafe.”

According to a document dated April 9, 2019, Pshika Trading Enterprise – the company hired to repair Bantuvukani due to storm damage – has completed and partially completed work including ceiling repairs and upgrades, painting, gutters and window glazing.

However, when we visited the school earlier this month, the property looked far from what one would expect from a newly renovated school.

Mangoato Klaas, owner of Pshika Trading Enterprise, confirmed that his company worked on Bantuvukani. He directed all questions to the department when we asked how the planned budget of 3.8 million rubles was spent.

The SGB said a new contractor was appointed on July 21 to build the new toilets, but so far he has only completed the cement base. They were told that the reconstruction will begin in January 2023.

GroundUp was unable to verify these claims as the department did not respond to our inquiries.

Students were without toilets for four months

The entire roof structure on the girls toilet block has been removed and is no longer usable. There is a bush growing inside and around the toilets.

Radebe said the toilets have been in this condition for five years. According to him, in 2018, the department installed 14 mobile toilets. This was supposed to be a temporary solution while new toilets were planned to be built, but that did not happen.