Recent flooding in KZN impacts reopening of some schools

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The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education says the damage caused by recent flooding will impact negatively on the successful reopening of some schools in the province. Heavy rains battered various parts of the province and claimed the lives of over forty people in December.

Ladysmith, in the province’s midlands, was the hardest hit area with infrastructure damage.

Many schools might not be able to welcome learners as schools re-open for the 2024 academic year in KwaZulu-Natal.

Education officials say several schools suffered flood damages, vandalism and theft of learner-teacher support materials.

Chatsworth Secondary, in the south of Durban, was one of the schools that were damaged when criminals stripped 20 classes of electric cables and windows. The damage is estimated at over R100 000.

While the assessments on the extent of the damage caused by the storms continue, the education department says it’s concerned about schools in Ladysmith and Dundee.

“The storm will have a great impact when we open the schools because some of the schools as I have said, need drastic attention whilst some are partially damaged. We do not have the fiscal muscle that is needed, so we will deal in terms of going to the Treasury asking for additional funds,” says Muzi Mahlambi, KwaZulu-Natal Education Spokesperson.

Teacher unions are worried about the state of readiness.

“We have received reports of schools that have been broken into and what is strange this time around, which needs to be taken care of, looked closely by the Department of Education this time around, what has been stolen in the schools according to the reports that we are receiving is stationery which may happen that there is now the circulation of the same stationery,” says Nomarashiya Caluza, Sadtu Provincial Secretary.

“Most schools received a quarter of the money that they need to use to buy these materials and also those schools that need to order from the department, they receive very little. You find the principals now are forced to make a special request to parents to buy exercise books,” says Sibusiso Malinga, Natu President.

The education department says temporary structures will be provided for severely damaged schools.

Video: Ladysmith flooded again following heavy rains