It was a festive atmosphere at Dorrington Matsepe Primary School in Kroonstad as the school was officially handed over by the Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga, on 30 April 2015.
The handover marks a milestone in the Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI), as the Free State school is the 100th school to have been completed since the programme was initiated in 2011/12. Minister Motshekga was accompanied by the Free State Education MEC, Mr Tate Makgoe for the official handover.
ASIDI is a massive public-private partnership programme and one of Government's Strategic Infrastructure Projects (SIPs), as part of the broader Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC).
The programme aims to build 527 schools to replace schools constructed of inappropriate materials across the country. To date 108 schools have been completed. In the Eastern Cape alone, 84 schools have been completed to replace mud schools. In the Western Cape, the Department has completed 11 schools. Five have been completed in the Free State, Four in Mpumalanga, two in Limpopo and one in the Northern Cape.
In addition, ASIDI has a basic services component to it; the programme aims at providing sanitation facilities to 939 schools, electrical energy supply to a further 932 schools and water supply to 1145 schools - all of them for the first time. To this end, ASIDI has already delivered water to 381 schools, decent sanitation to 371 schools and electrical connection to 289 schools.
All ASIDI schools come standard with specialist classrooms such as science and computer labs, nutrition and Grade R centres, libraries and administration blocks complete with a dedicated staff room, principal’s offices, sick bay and reception area.
The construction of an ASIDI school benefits the entire community, with the construction of Dorrington Matsepe Primary School creating jobs for 455 local people. All materials used in the construction were also locally-sourced, boosting the economy in the town as the project cost R72,5 million.
The school, which was established in 1992 and currently has an enrolment of 1100 learners, also makes use of gas and biogas for cooking in the nutrition centre while hot water is produced through the use of solar-powered geysers.
Addressing dignitaries, officials, learners and members of the local community, Minister Motshekga indicated that the singular mission of this ground-breaking infrastructure build programme is to eradicate schools built, in their entirety, from inappropriate materials such as those built of asbestos, wood and mud.
“Essentially, this programme seeks to restore the pride and dignity of our communities that were previously neglected by the apartheid regime,” said the Minister. She also took advantage of the occasion to denounce xenophobia and reminded her audience about the role that other African countries played in helping secure victory during the struggle.
In closing, Minister Motshekga reminded parents that they had the responsibility to play an active role in the running of the school and the education of their children. “Parents must ensure that children do their homework and arrive at school on time, pay attention during the learning process, and respect school property and educators. Collectively, the community must ensure the safety and security of this new school.”