TO BE DELIVERED TO
COEGA DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION DOE PROGRAMME MANAGER THEMBEKA POSWA AND REPRESENTATIVE OF THE CEO
WE DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY OF IMPLEMENTING AGENTS AND OVERSIGHT OF CONTRACTORS!
Why We Are Here Today
- We are Equalisers, supporters, and members of Equal Education, a national movement of learners, parents, teachers, and community members campaigning for quality and equality in the South African education system.
- We are here today because the infrastructure of public schools in the Eastern Cape is in crisis condition. The various actors responsible for fixing our schools, including government officials, employees of State-owned entities, and contractors, have not succeeded in their mandate to undo the Apartheid government’s systemic underdevelopment of our learning environments.
- We are here today because Implementing Agents such as Coega Development Corporation manage and plan the building of schools on behalf of the National Department of Education as well as the Eastern Cape Department of Education.
- We are here today because they are failing their clients: learners of Eastern Cape schools. Infrastructure is built slowly, of a poor quality; and, often times, not at all. Many of us learn in schools which are in dire need of upgrading. This is dangerous, as structures can collapse on us at any minute.
- As of 29 November 2016, the Regulations Relating to the Minimum Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure state that all public schools must have running water, electricity, and be made of appropriate materials (not mud, wood, zinc or asbestos). The poor infrastructure in our schools, much of which was meant to be fixed by Coega, is not only morally wrong, but also illegal.
- For the 2017/18 financial year, Coega Development Corporation has been allocated 71 new projects and an initial budget of R 262 446 000 from the ECDOE. Coega is responsible for hiring competent built environment professionals and contractors, and ensuring that they get the job done.
- We are here today because Coega is accountable to us as their clients and we want to see the fruits of R262 446 000 (two hundred and sixty two million, four hundred forty six thousand) given to them to #FixOurSchools.
Failures Which We Are Watching
- Since its opening in 2014, the Eastern Cape office of Equal Education has visited numerous schools in which Coega, as the designated Implementing Agent, has failed to timeously fulfill its obligations.
- Zanokhanyo Junior Secondary School, Butterworth: Zanokhanyo JSS has been awaiting infrastructure upgrades, and is in need of new classrooms. The school does not possess the plans for new classrooms, but have only seen the plans from Coega. Coega said that they would build a Grade R classroom, which would take nine months and the building is far from complete.
- Vukile Tshwete Senior Secondary, Qobo Qobo: Vukile Tshwete is made entirely of wood, which is an inappropriate building material. In June 2016 Coega went to the school to make assessments for the rebuilding of the school, which was meant to begin in the same year. Because of problems with their tender processes, the building of the school has been delayed for at least a year.
- Hector Peterson High School, King Williamstown: Hector Peterson is awaiting a new building, toilet block, administrative block, and nutrition centre. Plans for the school have changed from a re-building of a new school to a renovation. Neither has been done, or even started. Coega has allegedly restarted the tender process, however they have not made any communication with the school since July 2017.
- Chief Henry Senior Secondary, Libode: Chief Henry SSS is on the Coega project list for school fencing which is not complete.
We Have Been Failed, But We Will Not Be Forgotten
- We will not be forgotten because we deserve quality service delivery – it is our human right.
- We will not be forgotten because our lives matter. We refuse to learn in dangerous schools whose infrastructure threaten our safety every day.
- We will not be forgotten because we will not stop until we hold to account the set of actors who are responsible for planning and managing the building of our schools.
- We will not be forgotten because teaching and learning in the rural Eastern Cape is a national priority!
- We will not be forgotten because our stories and voices are important. So are the voices of our principals, teachers, parents, and School Governing Body representatives.
- We demand:
34.1 That Coega provides a written response to every individual case of communication and service delivery failure which we have highlighted. These schools must be told in writing when the building of the school is going to be complete and why progress has been delayed. This must be done within 14 working days.
34.2 That Coega commits to provide a temporary infrastructure solution for all of the schools on its project list in which infrastructure poses a threat to learners lives, where there are insufficient toilets, and where there are unhygienic sanitation facilities, within 30 working days.
34.3 That Coega provides all principals to the above schools with plans clearly explaining how Coega is to provide temporary infrastructure.
34.4 That Coega adds contractors who have failed to perform to National Treasury’s database of restricted suppliers, thereby barring those contractors from the ability to engage in government contracts.
34.5 That Coega deducts penalties from contractors and professional service providers for slow progress of projects, including the contractors responsible for the building of Vukile Tshwete Senior Secondary.
34.6 That Coega release a project list that details, since 2013, the number of DOE projects to which Coega was allocated, when said projects were meant to be completed, and when in fact they were completed.
34.7 We note inaccuracy in Coega’s 2017/18 project list. Zukhanye Senior Secondary School is in Coega’s 2017/18 project list for sanitation. However sanitation at Zukhanye SSS was delivered by Coega in September 2015. We demand that Coega updates it’s project list as well as the data and publish it to their website within 20 working days.
34.8 That Ms Thembeka Poswa, the programme manager of the DOE portfolio for the Eastern Cape meets, with Equal Education on a regular basis to discuss the progress of building school infrastructure in the province.