Classroom infrastructure under scrutiny

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The safety of six Grade R classroom projects, which were constructed by Kagiso Shanduka Trust (KST) across Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu, has come under scrutiny.

Ward 32 committee member, Zwelakhe Joseph Msabe, sent an email to both KST and the Department of Education detailing his concerns about the project, stating that the classes pose a safety threat as the projects assigned architect, Teboho Mahlare from DRA Global, had allegedly warned them about the discrepancies with regard to the project. The primary schools are Raohang Primary, Katamelo Primary, Mokoena Primary, Mokae Primary, Ratau Primary and Seiphemo Primary.

“I’m aware that due to your approval of the enacted structures the MEC of Education in the Free State, Ntate Tate Makgoe, President of the Republic, Honourable Cyril Ramaphosa, and KST officials will in the next month embark on a programme of handing over these classrooms officially to the schools. I want to believe the bequeathing of such buildings possess a safety threat to the lives of those who are going to make use of it,” said Msabe.

KST responded to the enquiry stating that Zwelakhe Joseph Msabe’s email to education department on allegations of handing over unsafe school infrastructure is misleading and factually incorrect, adding that during the KST infrastructure development process a structural engineer/architect is appointed and managed by a KST-appointed project manager, who is a qualified engineer.

A structural engineering company is appointed and works with the project manager (qualified engineer) to ensure all technical compliances. Once the construction or renovation of the infrastructure is complete, it is inspected by the Free State Department Education engineer and an Occupational Safety Clearance Certificate is issued by the structural engineer, only then will the infrastructure that has been certified as safe for occupation be handed over to the school.

“KST is concluding the occupation safety clearance with the structural engineers and therefore these schools will not form part of the infrastructure launch due to take place on 25 and 26 February 2019 unless a certificate of occupation is issued,” KST said.

Education department spokesperson, Howard Ndaba, said that the department had a meeting with Zwelakhe Msabe and KST last Thursday, to discuss the allegations further.

“We have no record of the above complaint from our engineers. Additionally, part of our monitoring process is the spot check inspection by our resident project manager. To this effect, none of the above schools have been flagged as a safety hazard,” concluded KST. – Seithati Semenokane