BHISHO has built only 10 schools from its R1.3-billion infrastructure budget for the current financial year, which closes at the end of this month.
Details of the infrastructure progress were highlighted by education MEC Mandla Makupula at the provincial legislature last week.
It is unclear what percentage of the R1.3-billion Rapid Infrastructure Development Programme budget, which forms part of the department total budget of R25-billion, was used.
Makupula – responding to questions from DA shadow education MEC Edmund van Vuuren – said 681 schools were required to be fixed in the province at an estimated cost of R10-billion. Work done on schools included fencing, electricity, water and toilets.
The infrastructure is separate from the Accelerated Schools’ Infrastructure Development Initiative (Asidi) programme run by the Department of Basic Education to eradicate mud and unsafe classrooms.
“It is estimated the budget needed is R5-billion to R10-billion to eradicate backlogs of schools and an estimated R1-billion per annum to have all schools in the province in a condition that is conducive to quality learning and teaching,” Makupula said.
Van Vuuren said the department had in the past shown it was battling to maintain schools.
“Only 10 schools were completed this year out of 600 schools. This means that if we continue refurbishing 10 schools a year, it will take us about 60 years to refurbish all schools in the province.”
He said the department had never set aside money for maintenance of schools in the past.
“The money to paint, repair ceilings and other renovations has never been set aside in the last 20 years. The money meant for renovations was used to pay teachers.”
COPE MP and education spokeswoman Angela Woodhall said more funding was needed.
Education spokesman Loyiso Pulumani said the provincial programme was going to deal with emergency cases to refurbish schools destroyed by hailstorms.
According to a report seen by the Dispatch, 47 schools were listed to benefit from this year’s provincial allocation.
Pulumani said unfinished schools were going to be rolled-over to the coming financial year and there were currently processes underway to monitor expenditure of schools on their maintenance budget. —