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By Marizka Coetzer

Journalist


School of shame: Tragic story of Mayibuye Primary

Mayibuye Primary School's derelict state echoes the failure of government projects, leaving students without proper education.


The echoes of voices from former pupils still seem to haunt the derelict Mayibuye Primary School in Midrand, Gauteng. The assembly area where children should be lining up to attend class is vacant with weeds growing between the bricks three years after its initial completion date. Windows are broken, floors in the classroom are starting to lift and the school-hall floor is covered in pigeon droppings where the birds made nests in the roof. There is also sewage running past the school hall. DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education, Khume Ramulifho, 24 August 2024. . Picture: Neil McCartney / The…

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The echoes of voices from former pupils still seem to haunt the derelict Mayibuye Primary School in Midrand, Gauteng.

The assembly area where children should be lining up to attend class is vacant with weeds growing between the bricks three years after its initial completion date.

Windows are broken, floors in the classroom are starting to lift and the school-hall floor is covered in pigeon droppings where the birds made nests in the roof.

There is also sewage running past the school hall.

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education, Khume Ramulifho at the seemingly abandonded new buildings that were to be the new premises for the Mayibuye Primary School in Ivory Park, 24 August 2024. . Picture: Neil McCartney / The Citizen
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education, Khume Ramulifho, 24 August 2024. . Picture: Neil McCartney / The Citizen

A security guard at the abandoned school said they recently caught someone stealing curtains at the school.

The school was to have been completed by 2020, but it has stood abandoned and closed while children in the area play at the gates and practise spelling words with chalk on the wall at the school gate.

Democratic Alliance Gauteng shadow MEC for education Khume Ramulifho said the school could not open because the municipality had not issued an occupational certificate.

The budget for the school was depleted and new money was needed to complete the project.

“This is just one example of 20 of these projects which were abandoned in the province which has been standing around for more than five years,” he said.

Ramulifho said the haunting reality of abandoned schools and unfinished infrastructure projects stood as symbols of the failure of the government in uplifting and freeing the residents from the chains of apartheid.

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education, Khume Ramulifho at the seemingly abandonded new buildings that were to be the new premises for the Mayibuye Primary School in Ivory Park, 24 August 2024. . Picture: Neil McCartney / The Citizen
Picture: Neil McCartney / The Citizen

Ramulifho said the completion of unfinished schools had to be expedited.

“It is intolerable that our province has more than 20 projects such as the Nancefield, Hillcrest and Mayibuye primary schools, that have gone over budget and the stipulated timeframes. It is intolerable that Thorntree Primary School in Soshanguve faces severe overcrowding with 77 pupils in one mobile classroom.”

Ramulifho said Soshanguve would also get mobile classrooms.

“Mobile classrooms must be used as a temporary measure and not be permanent,” he stressed.

He said the Gauteng department of education, the school infrastructure implementing agency and the department of infrastructure development should be held accountable for a dereliction of duty by not completing school infrastructure projects and leaving the infrastructure to rot and collapse.

“Such insecurity and neglect by the Gauteng provincial government have led to tragic incidents like the case of Geluksdal Secondary School pupil Maubrey Mahudu, who was electrocuted when touching a door frame at the school in 2017,” he said.

The buildings that were built to house Mayibuye Primary School, but have not been given an occupancy certificate due to dangerous conditions. 7 September 2020. Picture: Neil McCartney

Ramulifho said abandoned schools in the province must be repurposed to relieve overcrowded classrooms and schools.

“Right now, we are wasting taxpayers’ money while pupils are trapped in facilities which are not even conducive for quality teaching and learning. Children are our future and opportunities will only be made possible if we provide access to quality education,” he said.

Two blocks down the road, the pupils meant to have benefited from the new school sit cramped with up to 60 children in each of the 40-plus container classes.

During breaks, they take turns going outside because the property is too small for them. There is also no sports field or grass, just sand and cement.

A concerned resident said the community was very disappointed that the school was never finished or handed over.

“Now there is no action. It’s just sad,” he said.

The father-of-three said he watched how the school was built close to his house only to find out that it cannot be used now

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Democratic Alliance (DA) Gauteng SA Schools

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