The FF Plus remains concerned about the structural safety of public schools in Gauteng, three years after the tragedy at Driehoek High School.
The tragedy occurred on the 1st of February 2019 when a walkway collapsed on learners at the school. Directly after the event, the Department of Education and the Department of Infrastructure and Development raced to address the various problems at schools in the province, such as in the case of Roodepoort High School.
But since then, it appears that the oversight over schools' structural safety has once again declined to the ANC normal of inadequate inspections.
During a meeting of the Legislature's Committee on Education last week, the FF Plus posed questions about this to the Gauteng Department of Education.
The Department was unable to provide clarity and will give feedback later.
The FF Plus finds the situation alarming and, therefore, sent follow-up questions about the matter in writing to the Department of Education to determine whether inspections are done on a regular basis.
In terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993, inspections must be conducted every six months in the first two years of any infrastructure's lifetime and after that, inspections must take place annually.
The Driehoek High School tragedy clearly proved that this is not the case. According to the response of the Minister of Basic Education to a parliamentary question by the FF Plus (dated 15/02/2019), the last inspection of the school took place on the 8th of April 2014.
The only other inspection that was done in the interim took place in July 2018 and its sole aim was to determine the size of the school in relation to the number of learners.
These inspections are usually carried out to further the Department's political-ideological agenda of forcing Afrikaans schools, that are not filled to capacity, to accommodate learners who speak other languages so as to ultimately transform these Afrikaans schools into English schools. It is abundantly clear that the Department prizes its ideological targets above school safety.
As soon as the Department of Education provides feedback on its infrastructure inspections at public schools, the FF Plus will disclose the information for public response and comments.
The Driehoek High School tragedy must not be allowed to repeat itself.