National 7.9.2016 08:15 am

Vuwani arson leaves education dept broke

Vhudzani Secondary School in Vuwani. Picture: Steven Tau

Vhudzani Secondary School in Vuwani. Picture: Steven Tau

The department has spent more than R40m for more mobile classrooms and diverted funds from its R800m budget for infrastructure.

The vandalising and torching of about 30 schools in Vuwani has left the Limpopo department of education bankrupt.

The department said over the weekend the cost of the debacle has left it virtually penniless. Officials appealed to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) to take the matter to national parliament in Cape Town during a briefing in Polokwane on Friday.

“We have single-handedly spent millions to bring back the culture of learning and teaching in Vuwani,” said chief director for district coordination Dion Letshedi.

“We pleaded with government for a financial injection, but all to no avail,” the department told the NCOP. “Government would not budge, saying the debacle in Vuwani was not declared a disaster and that Limpopo alone should foot the bill.”

This was affecting the functioning of other divisions within the department. According to the report from MEC Ishmael Kgetjepe’s department to the NCOP, a huge chunk of money was transferred from the infrastructure grant.

This was used to help buy new furniture and text books, do renovations at the damaged schools and pay for special camps for matrics. “This has negatively affected some infrastructure projects and left the department swimming in a pool of confusion,” said Letshedi.

Departmental spokesperson Naledzani Rasila backed Letshedi’s plea, adding that 77 mobile classrooms had been supplied to schools in Vuwani. He said the department had spent more than R40 million for more mobile classrooms and that the funds for this were being taken from the R800 million budget for infrastructure.

“We will need an additional R400 million to give the affected schools a facelift,” said Rasila.

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