The basic education department is set to cough out roughly R350 million to repair Vuwani schools gutted down by fire during series of arson attacks in the city.
City officials briefed the Parliament’s portfolio committee on education on Wednesday on the need to rebuild and restore all school equipment destroyed by fire in the past months.
About 20 schools were recorded to have been razed down by fire lighted by angry residents in the community during protest action in May this year, over municipal boundaries.
Normal school activities had begun in the area but the arson attack on most of the schools, like the Mugoidwa Secondary School, has crippled serious studies to begin in those areas, has cast a long shadow over efforts to restore normalcy to the area.
Members of Parliament recently visited the area to evaluate the department’s effort in restoring normalcy in the community on Wednesday
Committee chairperson Lynette Zwane says:
“The torching was not anticipated by anybody and it had not been budgeted for. The department has to appeal to Treasury to see where they can source funds, either from government or outside.”
Meanwhile, Basic Education Department spokesman Elijah Mhlanga earlier stated that the huge sum was needed to repair and reconstruct the schools that were damaged in the earlier incidents of violence, and that this was not set to increase further, following the latest attack.
“This incident just increased the cost, which is a problem because we are already going to ask money for those schools, and we must now go back and make an additional request.
“We are extremely worried, already the province has a backlog when it comes to school infrastructure and there are schools that are yet to be repaired from the natural disasters that happened previously due to rains and winds.”
Mhlanga also said the cost of repairing the Vuwani schools is going to cause a huge stress on the resources, because the department would need to go back and prioritize.
This would reportedly be at the expense of other dire issues to be handled by the department.