The department of basic education has now built 86 of the more than 600 schools it has promised to build by 2015.
It said it would hand over 64 schools to communities by November.
In 2010, the department had promised to build over 600 schools across the country in three years, thus eradicating all mud, log, wood and other “inappropriate” schools.
About 400 of these schools are found in the Eastern Cape.
However, the department had failed to deliver the schools on time and in February, during the ministry’s budget vote in Parliament, Minister Angie Motshekga extended the deadline to 2015.
Of the new deadline, spokesperson Panyaza Lesufi said: “By 2015 we should have eradicated all the mud schools across the country. The budget we have is about R8.2 billion.”
Last year, Motshekga promised to build 100 schools across the country (part of the 600) of which 49 would have replaced mud schools in the Eastern Cape. However, the department had failed to deliver, managing to build only 22 schools.
Lesufi cited difficulties with contractors. “We had problems with contractors. Others had complained that some of the areas were too rural. We also had problems with the weather and the supply of material. But now all those things are out of the way,” he said.
The department, he said, was building 200 new additional schools across the country, of which 120 will be in the Eastern Cape. These were at different stages of construction, he said.
Said Equal Education’s chairperson, Yoliswa Dwane: “We celebrate the schools built. However, the progress is very slow. At this rate, we have not met all the targets that were set and we will not meet the targets in future unless something drastic happens.”
She said the department had targeted building 100 of the 600 inappropriate schools last year, with a budget of over R2.3 billion.
By the end of the current financial year in March, only 37.5% of this amount had been spent and only 22 schools had been delivered, she said, adding that President Jacob Zuma had also made a similar promise in his state of the nation address – that by the end of the March this year 98 schools would be delivered. “But clearly this was not so,” she said.
“We are therefore cautiously optimistic about the department’s most recent announcement, and would encourage it to provide regular information to the public on the progress of its Eastern Cape school-building project.”
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