Pretoria – Parents of pupils at Elandspoort High School in Danville, Pretoria West, have vowed to continue limiting the number of learners on the premises until such time their safety can be guaranteed.
In the meantime, classes remained suspended yet again on Monday amid concerns that the 60-year-old school was on the verge of collapsing.
The school governing body said it was awaiting a meeting with the Gauteng Department of Education regarding the school’s crumbling infrastructure.
The department promised to facilitate a meeting tomorrow with the school governing body to communicate an action plan and pave a way forward.
Department spokesperson Steve Mabona said a rehabilitation process for the school was on the cards.
Work would include underpinning cracked walls, as recommended by a structural engineer, and repairing cracked walls.
“The replacement of all roof sheets and repairing of damaged trusses and purlins, supplying of new downpipes and gutters, new electrical wiring, repairing of damaged floors and replacement of existing sewer pipes will be carried out,” he said. The trees close to the buildings would also be removed.
In addition, Mabona said the department was committed to exploring the use of mobile classrooms at the school.
“During this time, pupils can rest assured they will receive work so that they can continue learning at home.”
Following a meeting of parents with the school governing body last Thursday, a decision was taken to close down the school the following day.
Fearing that the safety of their children was at risk, the parents suspended classes on Friday.
On Monday, only Grade 12 pupils were allowed into the school.
The parents fear that a tragedy similar to that of Hoërskool Driehoek, where a walkway collapsed, killing four pupils and leaving scores injured, would repeat itself at the Danville school.
The parents pointed to the findings of several independent structural engineers asked to conduct assessments of the buildings, who all declared it unsafe.
They said the roof continued to leak despite several attempts to seal it. Several ceiling panels were also damaged.
The school was first declared unsafe by the district office last year after an official visited and issued an instruction that it be evacuated.
Dorcas Dlulisa, whose child is in Grade 11, said she was glad the department had intervened. “My worry is that while we have suspended classes, our children will fall behind. Grade 11 is just as important as matric.
"This delay is a big deal because it is the beginning of the year and already our children are lagging behind those at other schools.
“But be that as it may, I am not willing to risk taking my child to school, knowing that a tragedy may happen at any time,” Dlulisa said.
Father of a Grade 12 pupil, Herbert Mashego, said the thought that the building was unsafe bothered him.
School governing body chairperson John Mabaso said classes would not resume until they heard what the department’s action plan was regarding the buildings.