Retsebile Primary School in the dark

Ms Nomasonto Xaba and Ms Thandi Mashinini cook for the Retsebile Primary School learners.

Ms Jane Sithole, DA Provincial Spokesman on Education, has expressed her dissatisfaction about the disconnection of electricity at Retsebile Primary School since 12 January.

According to her, the disconnection was as a result of the R105 000 that the Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport owed the Lekwa Municipality for rates and taxes.

“Without electricity, food provided by the feeding scheme cannot be prepared or refrigerated,” Ms Sithole said.

Mr Tornado Kambule, principal, said they usually keep the vegetables for the feeding scheme in the cooler to last longer, but could not because there was no electricity.

According to him, they had to place the large quantities of vegetables they receive on the floor to keep them cool.

However, some of the vegetables got spoiled and they had to get rid of them.

Ms Sithole called on Ms Regina Mhaule, MEC of the Department of Education, to intervene, saying the department must ensure that the learners and teachers do not bear the brunt of the Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport ineffectiveness.

She said the needs of learners must come first.

“Our learners are the future leaders of this province and country and to succeed, they must be given opportunities to learn and grow in a conducive environment that is focused on ensuring that they do well.”

According to the Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport, they are the custodian of government buildings.

They said the department is responsible for payments of rates and taxes only.

These include payment of water, refuse removal and electricity in facilities such as hospitals, clinics and schools.

“With regard to Retsebile Primary School, the department has paid an amount of R1.6-mil at the end of January and was not in arrears,” the department said.

Ms Thobeka Mtshiselwa, communications manager at the Lekwa Municipality, said the Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport does owe the municipality R105 000 and they have not paid.

She also said they cut the power supply to the school because the school is the consumer of electricity and rates are part of the account.

Mr Kambule confirmed that the electricity at the school was connected again on 6 February.

 

Ms Nomasonto Xaba, Ms Vangile Radebe (nutrition coordinator) and Ms Thandi Mashinini prepare food for the Retsebile Primary School learners.

  AUTHOR
Senamile Phungula
Journalist

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