ATC210824: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on the Joint oversight visit with the Select Committee on Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture to KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng Provincial Education Departments, dated 24 August 2021
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on the Joint oversight visit with the Select Committee on Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture to KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng Provincial Education Departments, dated 24 August 2021.
The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, having undertaken an oversight visit with the Select Committee on Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture to the KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng Provincial Education Departments, reports as follows:
1. Introduction and Background
- The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education and the Select Committee on Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture (hereafter referred to as “Committees”)conducted an oversight visit to KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng Provincial Education Departments from 9 – 13 August 2021.
- The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education and the Select Committee on Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture, after a live broadcast virtual meeting held on 3 August 2021 with the National Department of Basic Education, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education and Gauteng Department of Education on the damages to school infrastructure caused by the recent unrest and looting, were unanimous that they urgently visited these two most affected provinces (KZN and Gauteng). The Committees were eager to have the first-hand experience of the vandalism, burglaries and looting of school property in hot-spot areas and how this was impacting schooling in the provinces.
- Areas visited include the following:
- UMgungundlovu Education District
- Pinetown Education District (Phoenix)
- Durban Central Education District (Umlazi)
- Ekurhuleni South Education District (Voslorus/Katlehong)
- Gauteng East Education District (Tsakane/KwaThema)
- Johannesburg North Education District (Soweto)
- The primary purpose and focus of the oversight visit was to monitor and oversee the overall damages to school property and infrastructure during the recent July 2021 unrests which saw criminals targeting schools for vandalism, looting and burglaries and how this impacted thestate-of-schooling in these affected districts. The Joint Committees soughtto have an understanding of any further challenges being faced; the contingency plans in place, what still need to be addressed and possible assistance that could be forthcoming.
- As the Committees had received a detailed and concise report from the National Department of Basic Education (DBE), the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education (KZNDOE) and the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) at its meeting of 03 August 2021, the Committee felt it important not to waste any time meeting with officials from the Provincial Education Department again. Due to limited time available, the structure of the visits to schools was to engage the School Management Teams (SMTs) on incidents of vandalism, looting and burglaries suffered, as well as the impact such incidents may have on schooling. This was followed by an in-loco sight visit to the damaged schools. The Committees needed a report from the schools on the following key areas:
- Had the school been affected by the July 2021 unrests;
- Report on damages, vandalism and stolen items;
- Costs of such damages, vandalism and stolen items;
- Had repairs/refurbishments been made – and the assistance from the Provincial Department;
- What has not been addressed/repaired yet
- Had a case been opened at SAPS. Was a case number received;
- Had any goods/items been recovered;
- Were there any arrests made; and
- What was the progress with SAPS investigations?
- For the oversight visit, the Committees also alerted the School Governing Body (SGB) Associations, the South African Principals Association (SAPA) and Organised Labour. The Committees was also joined by the Portfolio Committee on Education in the respective Provincial Legislatures during engagements and visits to schools. The delegation held meetings with all relevant stakeholders to gain first-hand information on the damages, vandalism and looting and the impact on schooling - and to discuss various challenges faced in the Provincial Education Department (PED) and affected Districts.
1.7 This report provides a summary of the key issues that emerged from the interaction with stakeholders, officials of the national and provincial departments as well as the Committee’s deliberations, observations and recommendations.
2.1 Portfolio Committee on Basic Education: Hon B P Mbinqo-Gigaba MP (ANC) (Chairperson), Hon N G Adoons MP (ANC), Hon T Malatji MP (ANC), Hon P R Moroatshehla MP (ANC), Hon E K Siwela MP (ANC), Hon B Yabo MP (ANC), Hon B Nodada MP (DA) and Hon M E Sukers MP (ACDP). Parliamentary staff consisted of Mr L A Brown (Committee Secretary), Ms P Mbude-Mutshekwane (Content Advisor), Mr J Van Der Westhuizen (Committee Assistant), Mr S Mokoena (Parliamentary CommunicationServices), Mr Z Velebayi (Protection Services) and Ms N Alberts (Protection Services).
2.2 Select Committee on Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture:Hon E M Nchabeleng MP (ANC), Hon A Maleka MP (ANC), Hon M Bara MP (DA), Hon S Luthuli MP (EFF) and Hon D Christians MP (DA). Parliamentary staff consisted of Mr N Mkhize (Acting Committee Secretary), Ms L Stofile (Senior Researcher) and Ms Z France (Committee Assistant).
3. Oversight and Monitoring Visit in KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Education Department
The oversight visits to the UMgungundlovu, Pinetown and Durban Central Education Districts were held from 10 – 11 August 2021. Schools visited by the delegation included:
- UMgungundlovu Education District
- Sifisesihle Primary School;
- Khayelihle High School; and
- Sikhululiwe Secondary School.
- Durban Central Education District
- Vukuzakhe High School;
- Emthethweni Senior Primary School; and
- Dumehlezi High School.
- Pinetown Education District
- Siphosethu Primary School;
- KwaMashu Education Centre; and
- Golden Steps Special School.
3.1 School Visits in UMgungundlovu Education District
3.1.1 Sifisesihle Primary School
Sifisesihle Primary School was established in 1982 as a lower primary school and was situated in Mpophomeni Township. The school was officially opened in 1987 and developed into a higher primary school that included Grade 7. The school had a total of 14 teachers and one non-teaching personnel paid by the SGB.
Some of the challenges over the last 12 months included the following:
- Several break-ins;
- Shortage of staff;
- Buildings cracking and leaking; and
- Improper fencing
Regarding the most recent July 2021 vandalism and looting, the school reported the following:
- Broken ceiling boards;
- Items stolen included the following:
- Benches and chairs;
- National School Nutrition Programme Foodstuffs.
- Water-stations damaged and unusable;
- Damage to school perimeter fencing;
- Damage to the security camera system and wiring; and
- Broken classroom doors.
The school reported that, to date, no action had been taken to address these challenges by the provincial department. The school had a challenge with no night security for the whole school – only certain sections were being patrolled by a private security company.
Some classes were not being attended due to a shortage of teaching staff. The school was utilising one of the classrooms as a nutrition kitchen. Due to fencing challenges, the school perimeter was not secured hence the break-ins as a result learners use the fallen fence as they wish or to run away from the school.
- Members noted challenges with no security guards for the school regularly and queried how the Department was able to assist.
Provincial Education Department – The Department indicated that the school was on the priority list for repairs, refurbishment and maintenance as and when there was adequate budget and finances.
- Members recommended that the school should consider renegotiating the terms of the NPO that is using one of the classrooms that is mended by the private security company.
- The Provincial Department of Education should consolidate the report and highlight the progress of recoveries, refurbishments, progress with the law enforcement agencies and share it with the Committees before the end of the third week of August 2021.
3.1.2 Khayelihle High School
Khayelihle High School was established in 1976 and was a Rural Public Secondary School located in Umbumbulu, KwaZulu-Natal. The current enrolment stood at 110 learners with 8 educators. The school was originally established with Grade 8 – 10 but was upgraded to include up to Gade 12. The school had also suffered looting and vandalism following the July 2021 unrests. The school reported the following damages:
- Damage to office main doors;
- Windows destroyed;
- Fire damage to the office rooms and staff room;
- Damage to ceiling boards (to gain entry into the strong-room);
- Good and items stolen included the following:
- Two kettles
- Desktop computer;
- Digital projector;
- Seven single desks;
- Fumigation sprayer tanks;
- 40 Sanitiser bottles with pump;
- 40 KG of rice, 40 kg maize meal, 5 kg sugar beans, 24 tins of canned fish;
- Microwave oven; and
- Gas stove.
- Textbooks destroyed.
The estimated total costs for the damages amounted to R 11 667.00 with additional costs of R 11 633.00 for textbooks. The school had reported the incidents to the SAPS and received a case number 81/07/2021. The incident was also reported to the local leader, councillor and SGB. None of the stolen items had been recovered to date and the school was awaiting feedback from the police. The school further reported on previous incidents of burglary at the school. Currently, there was no night security at the school- only daytime security. The school also reported past damages and vandalism e.g. stolen perimeter fencing and other burglary incidents.
All cases had been reported to SAPS but there has been no movement and the investigations were ongoing. The SAPS had found some items at a particular house in the area and a man was arrested. The school continued to arrange foodparcels for the needy in the community. The school also reported challenges with a lack of scholar transport for learners who walked long distances to school.
- Members noted that the school reported no night security and urged the school to consider a night patroller as well as finding ways to involve the parents and local community to assist with school safety and security.
Provincial Education Department – The Department had dispatched an inspector to assess damages to electrical cabling and a contractor would be appointed in due course to do the necessary repairs.
The school was one of 89 mobile schools established due to an increase in new community developments in the area. The Department, through its Infrastructure Funding Agency, was in the process of replacing mobile schools with permanent structures and the school was on the priority list. The Department had already started with the environmental assessment of the area for building the school.
- Communities should be engaged to take ownership and protect the schools in their areas.
3.1.3 Sikhululiwe Secondary School.
Sikhululiwe Secondary School was established in 1996 and was situated in the Vulindlela Circuit in UMgungundlovu District. The current learner enrolment stood at 530 learners with 16 educators employed. The site where the school was built was donated by a community member and the Department of Correctional Services assisted with manpower for the building construction. Around 2007 the Department of Public Works built an additional 4 classrooms, offices, strong room and toilets.
In August 2020 the school was vandalised and also suffered weather damage. This was followed by the July 2021 vandalism and looting where parts of the school were burnt. The Department had sent officials to visit the school to inspect the extent of the damages. The damage to the schools included the following:
- Administration block burnt;
- Four classrooms burnt;
- Collapsed roofing;
- Collapsed walls;
- Cracked flooring; and
- The fire destroyed the electricity distributor, the contents of the storeroom, copy machines, science equipment, the content of offices, including textbooks.
- Stolen items included the following:
- Microwave ovens;
- Four laptops;
- Four printers;
- Copy paper; and
Although a case had been opened with SAPS, the school was still awaiting a response from the SAPS on the incidents. There had been no reports of any recovery of stolen items nor any arrests. Unfortunately, the school did not have the services of night security. It was reported that the Department was able to supply new groceries for the nutrition programme. Further to this, the Department had supplied the school with extra five mobile classrooms.
3.2 School Visits in Durban Central Education District
3.2.1 Vukuzakhe High School
Vukuzakhe High School is a public ordinary Special Needs Education School located in the Maphundu Circuit in the town of Umlazi, Kwa-Zulu Natal.
The school gave a detailed incident report on the burglary during the July 2021 unrest. The school had reported the matter to SAPS and had case number 256/07/2021. The estimated costs of damage amounted to R 10 500.00. Further to this, the school calculated that the costs of other goods stolen were in the region of R 21 100.00. To date, none of the stolen items had been recovered.
The school did employ five security guards who worked day and night shifts. Three shifts had one security guard and one shift had two security guards. The school has been unable to establish a functioning Safety and Security Committee. The school had links with the SAPS and Community Policing Forum. The school has a functional SGB andis aware of the security threat and vandalism at the school. After meeting with the CPF, ward committee and SAPS it was resolved that stakeholders be visible at schools e.g. regular patrols by the SAPS and CPF.
The school reported the following:
- The school has 28 classrooms, two laboratories, a library, computer laboratory and hostels. However, the condition of this infrastructure isnot conducive for teaching and learning;
- The following were stolen:
- Data projectors (3)
- Duplicating paper (30 boxes)
- Flypaper (5 boxes)
- Wall clocks
- Windows and window-panes were broken;
- Burglar proofing ripped off in the computer lab;
- Doors of rooms have been ripped off;
- Electrical wiring and plug-points have been ripped off;
- Ceiling boards in the classroom were damaged;
- Asbestos roofing and gutters were in a bad state of disrepair;
- School perimeter fencing was damaged and was often cut by land invaders;
- Four Jo-Jo Water Tanks were stolen;
- Plumbing often vandalised; and
- Some ablution blocks were not in working order.
The school had a break-in in 2019 whereby nine laptops, 16 tablets and six desktop computers were stolen. The school had reported the incident to SAPS and received a case number. Unfortunately, to date, none of the stolen items had been recovered and no further progress on the matter. The school further reported that in 2021 duplicating paper and dataprojectors were stolen. Often, children from the local community used the school courtyard over weekends to play soccer and other games.
The theft of teaching and learning material had a negative impact on learning and teaching as teachers needed to prepare worksheets for learners to minimise the spread of COVID-19.
- Members noted challenges with the safety and security of school property and queried whether the school was considering having more security personnel at night. Members also felt the school needed to revive the adopt-a-cop initiative to assist with the security of school property.
- It was noted with concern that the adjoining informal settlement bordered the school perimeter fencing.
- Members were of the view that the overgrown bushes within the school grounds posed a safety and security risk and appealed to the school to have it cut down/removed.
Principal – The school had been in collaboration with private businesses to assist with school repairs and refurbishments. The companies currently being engaged with included Toyota, Engen and FNB
The KZNDOE ensured that:
- The school was able to adequately utilise its Norms and Standards budget for some of the repairs e.g. broken windows and gutters.
- There was a collective effort from all stakeholders to drive a project of school renewal.
- The school was assisted with cutting down/removing the overgrown bushes on the school premises.
3.2.2 Emthethweni Senior Primary School
Emthethweni Senior Primary School is a public primary school situated in Mthethweni, Umlazi. The school reported vandalism and looting during the recent July 2021 unrest as follows:
- Three computers were stolen;
- A laminating machine stolen
Perpetrators gained access to the items by breaking through a brick wall. Due to transport challenges on the night of the vandalism, the security guard was unable to reach the school for his shift. The school had reported the incidents to the SAPS but there had been no follow-ups from the police regarding the vandalism and theft. To date, no stolen items had been recovered.
The estimated value of the damages and stolen items amounted to R 35 000.00
- Members noted that the school had too many overgrown bushes on the premises and this was hazardous. Members queried whether the school was able to have the overgrown bushes cut down or removed.
- Members noted that much of the damage, vandalism and looting at schools seemed to be minimal and requested the District to submit a detailed breakdown of the damages to all schools in the District.
3.2.3 Dumehlezi High School.
Dumehlezi High School is an urban public secondary school located in the KwaMashu Circuit in the village of Ntuzuma. The school was a highly motivated institution of learning and attracted opportunities due to the schooling excellence. There were a total of 711 learners with 20 classes and two ablution blocks with 20 toilets. The school was highly active and contributed to the development of the surrounding community.
Overcrowding of learners in classrooms was reported - which also negated the school’s capability to ensure social distancing.
The school was impacted by the recent looting and vandalism. The school lost many valuable assets used to improve the lives of learners as well as quality teaching and learning. The following was reported:
- Criminals had destroyed the infrastructure of the school;
- Four of the five hand-washing stations were vandalised;
- Ten offices damaged; and
- Toilet sinks, taps, seats and walls vandalised.
- Broken doors and burglar gates;
- Cutting the security system cables;
- Destroying ceiling boards (to gain access into offices, staff-room and kitchen);
- Items stolen included the following:
- Science and technology equipment;
- HP Laptops (2);
- Riso machine;
- Printers (2);
- Desktop computers (2);
- Stationery and textbooks;
- Microwaves (2);
- Heaters (4);
- Kettles (4); and
- Sanitisers and cleaning material.
The school had reported the matter to the South African Police Services (SAPS) and received Case Number: 200/07/2021. An Officer did visit the school – but to date, no stolen items have been recovered and no arrest made. The Principal had called a meeting with councillors, community and other relevant stakeholders and a working committee was established to assist with issues faced by the school.
The Committees undertook an in-loco site visit of the school premises to inspect the damages and vandalised infrastructure.
- Members queried whether the school had considered the adopt-a-cop initiative to mitigate school vandalism and burglaries.
- Besides the latest damage to the school, Members also queried assistance from the Department in respect of historic damages to infrastructure.
Principal – The school had written numerous letters to the District Office regarding the issue of broken windows and doors but had not received any responses to date. The school had collaborated with a private company that assisted with repairs to some of the classrooms.
Provincial Education Department – The Department indicated that the school was listed for the Asbestos Rehabilitation Programme. Due to financial/budget restrictions, the programme has not been able to proceed. A report on the damages and repairs has been received.
3.3 School Visits in Pinetown Education District
3.3.1 Siphosethu Primary School
Mr C Sokhabase, Principal of Siphosethu Primary School, briefly reported that during July 14, 2021, unrest the school sustained the following extensive damages:
- Office block partially torched(laptops stolen);
- Staff room partially torched (double fridge, sound system and cameras stolen);
- Damaged wiring/ stolen copper; and
- Plus, minus 40 chair covers stolen.
Mr Sokhabasereportedthat the damage caused was mainly to doors, burglargates and windows. He further reported that no classroom was damaged. He informed the Members that a case has been opened with the local law enforcement agency and he is still awaiting a report from the investigating officer. Mr Sokhabase also reported that, they are unable to do records, administration and etc. because of the damage caused by the fire.
Mr Sokhabase furtherreported that the school has no electricityas a result of the vandalism and theft of wires. The damages and stolen goods are estimated to be R48 000 and nothing has been recovered. He pleaded with the Provincial Department of Education to beef up security at night and assist the school by ensuring that the electricity matter is addressed.
Members observed that the school has asbestos roofing which poses a health hazard.
The Provincial Department reported that the school has been provided with 2 mobile classrooms for administrative purposes. It was also reported that electricity will be installed in the coming week. matter would be resolved. Furthermore, the Province reported that there are plans to repair the Administration block but funding the projects is a challenge. There are commitments in the form of adjustments from DBE but the commitment is not yet clear. Mrs Gumede committed to establishing whether the school has been updating the systems so that the District can assist in terms of recovering the lost data.
The Asbestos should be removed as a matter of urgency more especial in the burnt offices and the school roof must be replaced without compromising the health of the learners.
3.3.2 Kwa-Mashu Education Centre
Ms FN Mthembu, the Acting Centre Manager reported that onthe 12th of July 2021, they vandalized the burglar guards, doors to the computer lab, hall, Centre Managers office, reception, library, venue rooms and strong room. It was reported that a case was opened with the Ntuzuma SAPS with the case number CAS 122/07/2021.The damages and stolen goods are estimated to be one and half million rands (1.5 million). It was indicated no recoveries have been made so far.
Ms Mthembu reported that the Centre is serviced by EBSSecurity Group (Pty) Ltd. Two security personnel are posted during the day and two during the night. Ms Mthembu further reported that there they are no plans to strengthen the security in the Centre due to the budget constraints. The fence that was damaged during the incident has been fixedby the Security company. She concluded by indicating that the Centre is not performing up to the required standard since the damage.
- Members observed that computers in the media center has been stolen.
- Members also observed the functionality of the centre has been compromised as the result of vandalism and theft.
- Security personnel were only on one side making it easy for the intruder to access the centre using another entrance.
The terms of reference with the Security Company need to be revisited in light of the loss incurred.
3.3.3 Golden Steps Special School.
Mr. B C Singh, Principal of Golden Steps School reported to the Committee that the Golden Steps Special School was extensively vandalized, looted and damaged during the 12-14 July 2021 unrests. It was also reported that due to an incident of COVID 19, the Verulam Police Station was temporarily closed in terms of the COVID-19 Protocols and reopened on 21 July 2021. The case was only opened with the SAPS Verulam on 22 July 2021 and has a Case Number: 497/07/21.
The damages sustained by the school include the following areas:
- Office block;
- Admin Clerk: Finance;
- Office of the Deputy Principal;
- HOD’s Office;
- Reception, adjoining reception office: Admin Clerk;
- Board room;
- Specialist rooms/Workshop; and
- State School buses.
Mr Singh reported that the damage causeswere mainly to doors, burglar gates, windows/window panes, removal of carpet tiles in staff room and appliances.The current estimated cost to rebuild the school to enable basic teaching and learning has been calculated and estimated to three million rands (R3million). Mr. Singh also reported that no recovery of the goods has been made.
Reporting that the school has one state employed and unarmed security personnel. The Security Services has been outsourced to a local security company-RUSA, which provide one unarmed security day/night services and foot patrol. Currently, the school is part of the community police forum, however, it is not linked to the local Police station and no other measures are in place.
Mr Singh indicated that the school has received numerous pledges towards rebuilding and restoration of Golden Steps School. However, due to security challenges and the lack of proper storage facilities, the receipt of these proposed donated items have not materialised. To date renovations and reconstructions as anticipated has progressed very slowly, hence a further delay to the reopening of school.
In conclusion, Mr Singh reported that the school is currently facing numerous challenges related to the damages and losses incurred during the recent unrest. In terms of damages and losses suffered during the recent unrest as well as the shortage of relevant human resources,the filling of essential vacant posts had arisen and submitted in communication to the District office.
As a school that caters for learners with special needs, it is imperative that posts that have become vacant be filled as soon as possible to ensure proper quality education and support to learners.
- Vandalism is perpetrated by local communities;
- The learners are disadvantaged both academically and psychological; and
- The school is closed for learners.
The Provincial Department stated that they will take over the refurbishment process once they realised that the school is unable to do so. The Department through its partnerships has secured plumbing material from the Department of Public Works. assist when a gap is identified. It was also reported that the school bus will be provided or 2 minibuses if the Departmentis unable to secure the bus. The Provincial Department assured the Members that the funding discussions to address all the damages across the Province are at an advance stage and the outcomes will be confirmed on 20 August 2021. Furthermore, the Provincial Department committed to looking on the matter of vacancies within the school
Mr Ngcobo from National DBE requested that the Principal should liaisewith the District as the matter of the school is at an advance stage in terms of addressing the damages.
- NATO appealed to the Provincial Department to consider fencing the school and provide day and night security personnel.
- Members recommended that the issue raised by the school should be addressed so that leaners can be brought back to the school environment.
- National DBE through must look at the Therapist matter and report back to the Committees.
4. Oversight and Monitoring Visit in Gauteng Provincial Education Department
The oversight visits to the Ekurhuleni South, Gauteng East and Johannesburg North Education Districts were held from 12 – 13 August 2021. Schools visited by the delegation included:
- Gauteng East Education District
- Amos Maphanga Secondary School
- Rolihlahla Primary School
- Davey High School
- Lefa-Ifa Secondary School
- Ekurhuleni South Education District
- Freeway Park Primary School
- Rondebult Secondary School
- Thabotona Primary School
- Eden Park Secondary School
- Johannesburg North Education District
- Tetelo Secondary School
- Parkdale Primary School
4.1 School Visits in Gauteng East Education District
4.1.1 Amos Maphanga Secondary School
Amos Maphanga Secondary was a fee-paying state secondary school located in Etwatwa, Daveyton. The current learner enrolment stood at 1 128 with a total of 36 teachers.
At the height of the July 2021 unrest, looters had forced their way into the school kitchen but were pursued by the night patroller whose dog had mauled one of the looters. The incident was reported to the SGB for investigation.
The school reported the following damages:
- School kitchen was ransacked and items were stolen;
- Removed the chest freezer, gas cylinder, grass-trimmer and radio;
- Electricity switches, sockets and electrical cabling removed;
- Classes have electrical cabling exposed; and
- Dishes and plates removed.
The estimated total costs of the damages amounted to R 10 000.00. The incident was reported to the SAPS by the night patroller and principal and received case number 145/07/2021. The principal received information about a learner who had been bitten by a dog and requested that the learner and parent visited the school – where an urgent SGB meeting was convened. The parent was able to supply information on the other learners who were part of the group that looted and vandalised the school. A further meeting with all parents of implicated learners was called. The suspects admitted to being party to the looting and vandalism. It was resolved that the suspects be handed over to the police. None of the stolen items had been recovered. A detective had visited the school to investigate and the three suspects were arrested. Learners are currently in the care of their parents.
- Members queried the number of night patrollers currently employed by the school and whether they were sufficient and effective.
- Members also queried assistance from the Circuit, District and Provincial Department in respect of the requirements from the school.
- Members noted the school had been a prefab school for many yearsand queried whether there were plans to build more permanent structures.
Principal – Although the school had four security patrollers employed by the Department, there was a challenge with them being allowed to work at night. The SGB had decided to employ their patroller to patrol the school premises at night. The Department committed to repairing the damaged wiring at the school. The SGB of the would be calling a disciplinary committee meeting to deal with the learner from the school involved with the incident.
Provincial Education Department – The Department had dispatched an inspector to assess damages to electrical cabling and a contractor would be appointed in due course to do the necessary repairs.
The school was one of 89 mobile schools due to an increase in new community developments in the area. The Department, through its Infrastructure Funding Agency, was in the process of replacing mobile schools with permanent structures – and the school was on the priority list. The Department had already started with the environmental assessment of the area for building the school.
4.1.2 Rolihlahla Primary School
Rolihlahla Primary School was established in 1992 through the efforts of the local community. The school reported the following damages during the recent unrests:
- Extensive damage was caused when looters damaged the watervalves which services the school with running water. as a community;
- Two classrooms were vandalised;
- Damage to ceiling boards; and
- Theft of electrical cabling and floodlights.
The school had reported the incidents to the SAPS and received a case number. After some investigation, the school was able to recover some of the cablings from the local scrapyard.
- Members queried the timing of the vandalism and lootingand whether damages reported happened during the recent July 2021 unrest.
- Members also queried the availability and services of security guards at the school to protect and safeguard school property and infrastructure.
Principal – The principal indicated that damages to the water valves occurred during the recent July 2021 unrests – but the other damages had occurred around February 2021. Regarding the security guards, the principal mentioned that the security personnel was provided by the Department and worked in shifts. Added to this, the school also employed its private security personnel but due to a lack of funds, the school was unable to continue with the private security company.
Provincial Education Department – The Department gave a detailed report on the challenges with using security guards and not being in compliance with the specific Acts governing the industry. The Department was unable to go beyond the scope of the authority governing the industry. The Department sought to ensure there were adequate patrollers in the identified hotspot areas. Further to this, the Department has ensured that a police officer was linked to the school.
4.1.3 Davey High School
Davey Secondary School is a state secondary school located in Daveyton, Benoni. The enrolment figures for 2021 stood at 1180 learners with 32 educators. The school reported that during the July 2021 looting and vandalism, there were attempts by criminal elements to cut electricity cabling from the power station located on the school premises. There were further tampering with the electricity boxes and main switch. Although the incident was reported to the SAPS, the school was told that, as nothing was stolen, there could not be a case opened. During this time the school had managed to reconnect their electricity supply. The estimated costs of the damages amounted to around R 1 800.00.
- Members queried how the school was being assisted with security and safety of school property and infrastructure by the Department. Members queried whether the school had considered the adopt-a-cop initiative to mitigate issues of safety and security.
- Members also queried whether the school was given patrollers by the Department.
Principal – The principal indicated that they were doing their utmost best to protect and safeguard property and infrastructure. Part of their initiatives included the hiring of a private security guard with a dog. This has seen a drop in incidents of burglary and vandalism. The school had a police officer attached to the school and was available for any assistance if required.
Provincial Education Department – The Department mentioned that there was a programme being rolled out regarding school safety in line with the National School Safety Framework. Part of the programme includes the training and development of SGB members on issues of safety and security for schools.
4.1.4 Lefa-Ifa Secondary School
Lefa-Ifa Secondary School is a state secondary school located in Extension 1, KwaThema, Springs - and was founded in 1985. The current enrolment figures stood at 1 435 learners. The school was a township school surrounded by informal squatter settlements with high unemployment and poverty. Many learners come from child-headed families, single parents or unemployed parents. In child-headed households, learners depend heavily on the school nutrition programme to sustain them. Parent involvement at the school was minimal, particular in respect of the Curriculum and learner discipline.
Issues of school infrastructure was a major problem as the school was very old. Due to the age of the infrastructure, the schools experienced many underground water pipe bursts. The school perimeter fencing was dilapidated and full of holes which leads to goats from the informal settlements roaming the school. This has also lead to a series of burglaries and vandalism of school property. Other challenges reported included the following:
- Classroom doors removed;
- Magnetic chalkboards stolen;
- Electric cables and sockets removed;
- Vandalised school hall;
- Ceiling boards removed and damaged;
- School is invested with rodents who eat everything (including electrical wires). The duplicators machines were out of order due to the wiring being eaten by rodents.
- Some of the stolen items included the following:
- Two microwave ovens;
- Six wooden classroom doors;
- Four educator kettles;
- Magnetic chalkboards in six classrooms;
The estimated cost of the damage amounts to R 110 000.00 (hundred and ten thousand rands). A case had been reported to the SAPS and the school received case number CAS/91/07/2021. The School was unable to afford a security company to patrol the school. The SGB had a sleep-over at the school and was able to apprehend a suspect trying to remove a door. A door was recovered and the buyer of the stolen property was also arrested. The school was not receiving regular updates on the progress of the cases lodged.
The school was trying to utilise its maintenance budget as best it could to do some of the repairs – but this was insufficient. The school was also ranked as a Quintile 4 school which many felt was incorrect as the school was in a squatter camp. The school had written letters to the Department to report vandalism, burglaries and looting as well as requesting assistance with the perimeter fencing and securing the services of armed response/patrols at night.
- Members were concerned that goats were allowed to roam the school premises and felt the matter of the perimeter fencing needed urgent attention.
- Members queried whether the school had a functional and established Safety Committee as required by the School Safety Policy – and what assistance the school received from the Department i.r.o the adopt-a-cop initiatives.
- Members noted that burglaries and vandalism was an ongoing problem at the schools and queried whether the Department had been able to prioritise the school for refurbishment and repairs.
- Members noted the outcry for the incorrect Quintiling of the school and queried how the Department was able to assist with a possible review of the school quintile ranking.
- Members queried the interventions and support from the Department of Social Development in respect of child-headed households and relevant social integration programmes to assist.
Principal – The school had experienced looting and vandalism for a long time and had submitted the necessary requests for assistance from the Department; especially with issues of security of the school. The school was still awaiting feedback. The school also tried where possible to offer child-headed household foodparcels. Although there are social workers assigned to schools, the school had not been visited by any to date. The school relied on school-based support teams and assistance from the district office.
Provincial Department – The Department gave a detailed overview of how schools were classified and ranked into the various quintiles. The Department agreed that they needed to review the quintile ranking of the school. Regarding issues of safety and security, the Department reiterated their challenges with funding and budget cuts. The Department would look at correspondence received from the school and check if there was an adequate motivation for security guards. The Department was collaborating with other schools to train school-based teams to deal with criminality. The Department had also requested that the SAPS did regular patrols of the school – resources permitting. The Department was addressing issues pertaining to the dilapidated underground pipes and had sent inspectors to make an assessment and awaiting the appointment of a contractor. The Department also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Social Development for the deployment of social workers to schools where there was a need. The Department would further look to secure ICT equipment to be replaced as soon as possible.
4.2 School Visits in Ekurhuleni South Education District
Mrs. Van Eeden, Principal of Freeway Park Primary School reported that during the unrest
between 12 July and 14 July 2021, the school did not experience any vandalism, looting and damage.
Mrs L Mokoena, Principal of Rondebult secondary schoolreported the following damages during the recent unrests:
- Two classrooms were vandalised;
- Damage to ceiling boards;
- Smartboards were lifted.
- Kitchen resources (fridges, microwaves and food items)
- Theft of electrical cabling and floodlights.
Mrs Mokoena further reported that the school had reported the incidents to the SAPS and received a case number. After some investigation, the school was able to recover some of the cablings from the local scrapyard. AndIndicating that the culprits have been apprehended and handed over. Mr M Nkomane, the school governing body reported that one of the biggest problems in the area which was increasing the looting and vandalism within the school was unregistered scrapyards.
According to Mrs Mokoena, the cost of damage to school property is estimated to be R150 000. The school managed to fix the damage caused in the burglar bars and replaced the water taps.
In conclusion, Mrs Mokoena indicated the following intervention needed:
- Provide SAPS satellite in Rondebult residential area
- To provide security to schools preferably armed response
- To provide CCTV security system
- To assist with repairs and replacement of the damaged areas
- Assist with the campaign to secure schools to strengthen relations with communities
The Principal of the school, Mr M Khoarai reported that the school was established in 1987 and the land that it is occupying is an agricultural land zoned. He reported that it was never afforded a descent infrastructure since its establishment from shacks. The Principal further reported that the school occupied the site illegally and are promised a piece of land where the new school will be built. The Principal also reported that the damages that were incurred by the school were only as a result of community unrest not related to the July unrest. Some of the classrooms were torched to ashes during those recorded community unrest.
Ms S Mogable, acting principal led submissions to the Committee on behalf of Eden Parks Secondary school. Ms Mogable reported that no major structural damages took place during the July unrest. She then pointed out one of the torched mobile classrooms, did not happen during the July unrest. As the result of the fire set I that mobile classroom, EMS books that were stored in the cupboard were burnt. Ms Mogale reported that the incident was reported to the SAPS. She further reported that the following items were stolen:
- There were no major structural damages in most schools visited. Damage included the loss of electrical wiring, admin blocks, doors, roofs, ceilings, ablution facilities and sanitary fittings.
- Members noted that burglaries and vandalism was an ongoing problem at the schools.
Provincial Education:Gauteng education MEC P Lesufi assured that his officeiscommitted to fixing the schools. He also reported that there are existing engagements with relevant service providersto address the electricity and water challenges. Moreover, he committed that police patrol will be prioritizedin affected areas to ensure a sustainable solution.
4.3 School Visits in Johannesburg North Education District
4.3.1 Tetelo Secondary School
Tetelo Secondary School is a state secondary school officially opened in May 1996. The school is located in Soweto, Protea North. The enrolment figures for the school stood at 1 324 learners with 42 educators. The Committee delegation started with an in-loco walk-about of the school premises to assess the damages and vandalism that occurred in the July 2021 unrests. Some of the damages were as follows:
- Toilet taps removed from bathrooms;
- Office burgled;
- Ceiling boards damaged (to gain access into other rooms);
- Specific files stolen; and
- Doors broken and damaged.
The estimated costs of the damage amounted to R 12 000.00
- Members queries the steps taken by the SAPS to apprehend the perpetrators- and whether these were repeat incidents or a first occurrence.
- Members also queried the security arrangement/set-up at the school – and whether security was adequate.
- Members also queried the plans in place to repair and refurbish damaged property – and how this would be budgeted for.
Principal – The principal indicated that the costs for repairing the taps, wiring and plumbing amounted to R 12 000.00. This excluded the repairs and refurbishments for the broken ceiling boards. The school had reported the incident to the SAPS and was awaiting a case number. The school was also awaiting follow-ups from the SAPS on the incidents. Crime Intelligence had visited the school to assess damage. In respect of security, the Department provided the school with three patrollers during the night. The principal mentioned past burglaries where items had been stolen but to date, there had been no arrests or recovery of stolen property. In 2016 a syndicate had vandalised the school and stole smartboards and a man from Mozambique was arrested and still in jail. Since then there had been a marked decline in burglaries at the school.
Provincial Education Department – The Department indicated that they had deployed a maintenance inspector to the school to assess all damages. It was agreed that the Department would fix the leaking roofs prior to attending to damaged ceiling boards. The Department provided schools with four patrollers (1 day and 3 night patrollers). Further to this, the Department had roadshows and awareness campaigns to sensitise parents and the local community on issues of safety and security of school property and infrastructure. There was agreement from the local SAPS to increase patrols of the school area. The Department projected a total cost for all repairs and refurbishment to amount to R 344 000.00. The school utilised its budget for some minor repairs while the Department would cover the costs of the more expensive refurbishments (e.g. leaking roofs and damaged ceiling boards). The Department estimated a timeframe of a month for repairs to be completed. It was further explained that the SGB had a maintenance budget for minor maintenance and repairs for the entire year.
4.3.2 Parkdale Primary School
Parkdale Primary School is a public primary state school located in Eldorado Park. The enrolment figures for the school stood at 1 114 learners with 28 educators. The school was affected by the recent July 2021 unrests and reported vandalism and looting during this period. Damages to the school included a break-in and damage to the new electrical wiring as well as damages to the brick wall. The school, with the assistance of parents and the local community, was able to arrest the perpetrator. The school was awaiting the necessary repairs to the electrical wiring.
Regarding the brick wall, it was mentioned that, on a daily basis, people from the surrounding community was removing bricks from the wall which left a gaping hole in the wall and compromised the security of the school. The caretaker principal also alerted the delegation of the incomplete school wall structure.
Provincial Education Department – The Department noted the damages to the wall and agreed that they would look to repairing the perimeter wall and fencing of the school. To date, the Department had already started the installation of portions of the school fencing as well as repairs to the leaking roofing. Further to this, the Department was in the process of repairs to plumbing and leaking taps. In respect of the incomplete school hall structure, the Department mentioned that it was not a legal structure with approved building plans – however, the Department was willing to assist and have their engineers study the building plans and facilitate possible approval of such building plans.
The oversight visit to the KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng Education Departments provided the Committees with an opportunity to oversee, monitor and assess the damages, vandalism and looting caused by the recent July 2021 unrestsand how this impacted the functionality of schooling in general within the affected provinces. The findings and recommendations contained in this report should help to assist the district and province to support affected schools to improve on schooling in general as well as to strengthen areas related to basic functionality.
6. Portfolio Committee Recommendations (Overall)
The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education having conducted the oversight visit with the Select Committee on Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture, to the KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng Provinces, and having considered the damages, vandalism and looting notes the following:
- After the initial presentations by the KwaZulu-Natal Department and Education and the Gauteng Department of Education which was held on 3 August 2021 (a week prior to the Oversight Visit), the Committees were left with the distinct impression of large-scale damages to school infrastructure due to vandalism and looting – and dire impact on schooling in the affected schools. Due to time-constraints, the Committees were not able to visit all schools affected by the July 2021 unrest, vandalism and looting and unfortunately, a majority of the school visited during the oversight showed little/minimal damages to school infrastructure. This showed a disjuncture with the reporting from the Provincial Education Departments and the actual visit to school by the Committees in respect of damages to schools. Some of the schools identified for the oversight and monitoring visit were selected from the Provincial Education Department’s presentation tabled at the meeting of 3rdAugust.
- Similarly, at an Infrastructure Roundtable held with all nine Provincial Education Departments at the DBE Head Offices in May 2021 in Pretoria, again, the reports from PEDs was not manifested in the actual visits to schools where there were many challenges with school infrastructure in all its facets.
The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education having conducted the oversight visit with the Select Committee on Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture, to the KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng Provinces, and having considered the damages, vandalism and looting requests that the Minister of Basic Education, in collaboration with Provincial Education Departments visited considered the following recommendations:
6.1 KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education
- Members recommended that the schools establish a functioning Safety and Security Committee. It was further recommended that schools needed to adopt-a-cop initiative to assist with the security of school property.
- Community Police Forum (CPF) ward committee and SAPS as stakeholders be visible at schools to ensure that there areregular patrols which includes Members ofthe South African Police and CPF.
- Where there was overgrown bushes and grass, Members recommended cutting and clearing of overgrown bushes within the school grounds as these posea safety and security risk.
- Members recommended that schools can utilise their Norms and Standards budget for some of the repairs e.g. broken windows and gutters, for the maintenance of schools as some of the damages occurred long before the unrest.
- The district was urged to submit a detailed breakdown of the damages to all KZN schools
6.2 Gauteng Department of Education
- Members recommended availability and services of security guards at the schools to protect and safeguard school property and infrastructure.
- Members urged the department to ensure that there is sufficient number of night patrollers employed by the school for sufficient and effective service of school security, protection as well as safeguarding of school property and infrastructure.
- Members recommended for replacement of mobile schools with permanent structures and that these mobile schools should be a top priority.
- Members recommended thatschools consider to adopt-a-cop initiative to mitigate issues of safety and security.
- Members recommended for installation of perimeter fencing as urgent, in order to curtail the movement of animals like goats that roaming atthe school premises.
- In line with the School Safety Policy Members recommended for establishment of functional Safety Committee to assist the school i.r.o the security initiatives.
- ICT equipment to be replaced as soon as possible for effective learning and teaching
- Members commented that burglaries and vandalism was an ongoing problem at some of the schools, in that regardthe necessary resources on board with campaigns on safety and security of school property.
- National Department of Basic Education
- Members recommended that the Department of Basic Education and Provincial Education Departments ensure that there are adequate patrollers in the identified hotspot areas. Further to this, to ensure that a police officer was linked to the school.
- The Department of Basic Education and Provincial Education Departments have organised roadshows and awareness campaigns to sensitise parents and the local community on issues of safety and security of school property and infrastructure.
- The Department of Basic Education and Provincial Education Departments ensured that they fix the leaking roofs prior, as well as attend to damaged ceiling boards.
- In collaboration with Department of Social Development, the Department of Basic Education and Provincial Education Departments solicit for the deployment of social workers to schools where there was a necessity in order to provide learners with support.
- Members recommend that mobile structures be replaced by building more permanent structures.
- The Department of Basic Education and Provincial Education Departments needed to prioritise the vandalised schools for refurbishment and repairs.
- Members suggested that the incorrect Quintiling of the school, be revised
- Training and development of SGB members be conducted on issues of safety and security for schools, in line with the National School Safety Framework programme
- The Department of Basic Education engaged with Provincial Education Departments on creating Circuit or District Based Committees to produce the necessary safety and security plans for those schools in their respective circuits or districts.
- Portfolio Committee on Basic Education and Select Committee on Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture
- The Committees ensured a follow-up engagement with DBE, KZNDOE and GDE on progress and status of all recommendations contained in the report.
The delegation, co-led by the Hon B P Mbinqo-Gigaba MP and Hon E M Nchabeleng, thanked the Members of the Provincial Departments of Education and the National Department of Basic Education for their support given during the oversight visits. The team also extended appreciation and thanks to the Teacher Unions and SGB Associations for taking the time to meet with the Committees and share their experiences and challenges.
Report to be considered.
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