CHAOS CAUSED BY CONSTRUCTION DELAY
By: Samkele Sokhela
Parents living around the Mariannhill area in Pinetown, have lodged a complaint against the construction delay that has been happening at the Chief Lokothwayo Primary School in Dassenhoek.
The school, which caters for 1 028 learners, was supposed to be undergoing renovations. The Masiqham Construction Company, hired by the Kwa Zulu Natal Department of Education, started the renovations, but after 6 to 7 months of work, they chose to protest as they were unhappy with what the Department was paying them.
The parents have been left frustrated by the situation, and they put the blame on the Principal of the school for not taking any action. When reached for comment, the principal, Ms Gumede, made it clear that they are not the ones who are responsible for the constructions progress.
“We don’t have any information on how the workers are supposed to follow their mandate- they have their own principles. We’re not the ones who pay the workers, and we are not the ones that tell them when to come on duty. It is the (KwaZulu-Natal) Department of Education who is responsible for their progress,” said Gumede.
One of the workers, Lindani Mkhize, said that the reason for the construction delay was due to the fact that the workers were protesting because they were not satisfied financially.
“Yesterday we had a meeting, and even today at 14:00 pm we will be holding another meeting. We had a problem of not getting paid, so those issues were raised at the meeting. The parents were also invited to attend, as they were unhappy with the delayed renovations,” explaining Mkhize.
“We (as workers) decided to protest, because we were getting R90 per day, and that is not enough, considering the fact that most of us have qualified certificates for this vacancy,” added Mkhize.
The Kwa-Zulu-Natal Department of Education is aware of the situation, and said that both parties have met and found a solution going forward.
“Yes, the Masiqhame Construction Company was not happy with what we were offering them (financially). But the good news is that both parties have agreed on a particular deal, and we are over the issue,” said the Department’s representative.
Mrs Nomonde Mthembu, a parent, believes that whenever there is construction work occuring, the children’s safety is at risk.
“Our children are not safe. It has been almost two years now, but still construction has not progressed. All this never-ending construction seriously affect our children at school because our children are there (at school) to get an education, and not to inhale the dust,” said Mrs Mthembu.
“Yes, we had a meeting, and we discussed the issue, and hopefully as it seems, things are coming on to an end.”