Please note that this article is an extract from the LRC’s 2012 Annual Report
Through the efforts of the LRC during 2010 and 2011, a settlement regarding the upgrading of seven mud schools in the Eastern Cape was reached and an agreement was signed on 4 February 2011. This important case has received extensive press coverage both nationally and overseas.
The Provincial Department of Education (DOE) undertook to provide both temporary and permanent infrastructure to the seven schools. First, it was agreed that the schools must be supplied with mobile classrooms, sufficient desks and chairs and water by 31 March 2011. Secondly, construction of permanent classrooms at the schools was to commence by 31 May 2011 and was to be completed within one year. The agreement also recorded that R8,2 billion has been committed by National Government for the replacement of inadequate school structures countrywide and R6,36 billion of that amount was to be used at schools in the Eastern Cape.
Although the March deadline was not met by the Eastern Cape DOE, by July 2011 the temporary structures and desk and chairs had been provided to the schools. All seven schools are now using the temporary structures and are extremely happy with the developments. We also received written confirmation from the DOE that they were moving ahead with the appointment of contractors to build permanent facilities.
In February 2012, construction of permanent classrooms, administration blocks, kitchens and multimedia centres began at two of the seven schools. These were scheduled to be completed by August 2012. In terms of the settlement agreement, Ingqondi Consulting, an independent monitor appointed to oversee the building of the temporary and permanent structures, will be attending site meetings.
In February 2013, the LRC decided to do onsite visits of the schools to review the progress. Using the hashtag #mudschools, we used a week of campaigning to highlight the issues still faced, which include slow progress, lack of toilets and overcrowding. Follow the LRC on twitter for more information.