The Department of Employment and Labour Inspectorate in Limpopo has shut down unsafe classrooms at the Kgwatlhele Primary School outside Mokopane on Tuesday.
The department also issued the Basic Education Department with a contravention notice for failing to conduct a hazards identification and risk assessment.
The Basic Education department also failed to ensure that the electrical installation was done safely by a competent person and failed to produce a copy of the Certificate of Compliance (COC) for electrical installation.
The Labour department’s inspection of the school became after concerned parents sounded the alarm during the first week of April about the unsafe classrooms with cracks that are visible from inside and outside of the building.
The department’s inspection confirmed parents’ suspicions that the badly cracked buildings posed a danger to pupils and teachers.
“Both administrative and a walk-through inspection were conducted at the school, the whole of Building Block E and F were prohibited and only grade 1A on building block A was found not to be compliant with the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS),” said the department in a statement.
“Cracks that are visible from inside and outside of the building pose an immediate danger of structural failure/collapse and may cause death to persons,” it added.
A grade one classroom, and the foundation level to the top roof of the admin building have also been shut down.
“The department is aware of the impact that the closure may have on the curriculum, however, the specialist prohibited the school blocks in the interest of safeguarding the lives which is more important than education,” said acting Provincial Chief Inspector Reckson Tshishivheli.
“Our inspectors are mandated to protect the lives of people and we are serious about enforcing the Health and Safety legislation.”
“We encourage the public and employees who find themselves in such hazardous situations to bring it to the attention of the department for inspections to be conducted,” he added
The prohibited sections of the school will remain closed until the Department of Education corrects the noncompliance as identified by the OHS Inspector.
Compiled by Narissa Subramoney