Children with special needs at Filadelfia Secondary School in Soshanguve have to spend another year in overcrowded dormitories as the Gauteng Department of Education can only start repairing fire-damaged infrastructure in 2018.
About 50 physically disabled and visually impaired senior pupils were moved out of their dormitory block at the school when a fire in February seriously damaged the building. They were placed in the three other dormitories. But between six and eight pupils now occupy rooms meant for three to four pupils.
The rooms contain beds, lockers and wheelchairs for them, leaving little room for movement or privacy. More than 60 pupils have to share two bathroom facilities in each block. In the fire-damaged building, collapsed ceilings are still lying on top of the debris and ashes from the fire seven months ago.
DA Gauteng shadow MEC for infrastructure development Alan Fuchs said regular maintenance of infrastructure at the school has been neglected. The facilities have deteriorated, which was having an effect on comfort, privacy and educational outcomes, he added.
“From a maintenance point of view, why has nothing happened since March this year? “It has been a number of months. One would have thought the department would come in, do basic investigations and refurbish this block,” he said.
Some of the other dormitories have broken doors, damaged cupboards and leaking taps. The concrete fencing around the school is also broken in places and pupils apparently sneak out of the school premises. The school has 509 pupils who are physically disabled or visually or hearing impaired.
Gauteng Department of Education spokesperson Steve Mabona said some restorative repairs were done on the administration block in 2015. He said the department was aware of the current infrastructure problems at the school, but repairs would only commence in 2018.
“A condition assessment of the residence facility has been conducted. We have since appointed a professional service team that is busy compiling designs and bills of quantities for the work. “Therefore, it is anticipated that the work will commence in 2018,” he said.