Mother of all Cape Storms Damages 135 schools across the Western Cape
Learners and educators returned to school on Thursday (8th June 2017) after schools were closed on Wednesday as a result of severe weather that hit the Cape for a period of almost 36 hours.
While I am pleased that for most schools, learning and teaching resumed almost immediately, there are a number of schools that were harder hit by the storm and as a result, teaching and learning may be suspended for a couple of days.
By Thursday (8th June 2017) 135 schools had reported storm damage to our Safe Schools Call Centre with 41 schools reporting damage to the school roofs.
There are exceptions at some schools that have been severely damaged by the storm. Our district officials are working with schools to implement contingency plans.
Schools have also reported water damage to classrooms, fallen trees and damage to fences.
We are reporting all cases immediately to the Provincial Department of Transport and Public Works.
The Head of the Provincial Department of Transport and Public Works has activated emergency procurement measures which will make provision for schools to ensure, as quickly as possible, that facilities are made safe where damage has occurred and allow for minor repairs to prevent further damage to buildings.
The WCED's works inspectors have already visited the worst hit schools. Once we have received the reports on all schools, the total cost of damages and the extent of damages, we will determine the strategy going forward and the prioritisation of reparations works.
Schools need to be made operational as soon as possible, which means that we will have to prioritise damages that affect the core functioning of the school, such as damage to classrooms, ablutions and administration blocks.
The department will fix minor damages as soon as possible.
Major repairs will take longer. These will need further investigation and procurement procedures.
It is too early to assess the costs involved.
We deeply appreciate the understanding of parents, principals and teachers, and their willingness to work with our officials in meeting these challenges positively.
Principals can report any storm damage to schools to the Safe Schools Call Centre at 0800 45 46 47.