School built on wetland: ‘misconduct’ or ‘misinformation’?

By Everson Luhanga

The Public Protector has issued a report against both the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) and the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (GDID) for “misconduct” in the construction of Mayibuye Primary School in Tembisa.

The report found that a critical wetland study was not conducted before construction began – and so the school was built on a wetland.

The Public Protector’s report also found that both the GDE and the GDID “lacked procedural integrity” in the procurement procedures and supply chain management used in building the school.

The state-of-the-art Mayibuye Primary School features 28 smart classrooms, two smart science laboratories, a computer lab, an early childhood development section, a library and an administration block.

GDE spokesperson Steve Mabona said the department acknowledges the findings of the report and is committed to following its remedial actions.

He said the report examines whether the actions of the GDID and GDE added up to “maladministration and undue delay”.

The school was opened on 7 February by Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi, who was accompanied by Education and Youth Development MEC Matome Chiloane, and Infrastructure Development MEC Lebogang Maile.

On the day of the launch, Lesufi dismissed reports that the school had been built on a wetland, calling such reports “misinformation”.

“Phase 2 will be launched on 27 April 2024,” he said at the time. “It will consist of a nutrition centre combined with a dining hall, a soccer field, and combi (netball, basketball and tennis) courts. 

“This phase has faced numerous ownership, contractual, and construction delays, including misinformation that the school had been built on a wetland, which is not the case. A sewerage line was identified as the main challenge, but it has been fixed,” he said. 

Image: Mayibuye Primary School in Tembisa.

Source: Gauteng Department of Education

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