The National Development Plan 2030, sets out that every child deserves quality education, which includes proper schools infrastructure. With this in mind schools are being built and refurbished across the country.
But sadly there are still some concerning issues concerned as 37 schools in the OR Tambo, Chris Hani, Sarah Baartman, Amathole, Alfred Nzo and Joe Gqabi districts in the Eastern Cape have stopped construction due to debt that hasn’t been paid to various construction companies.
Between May and November builders walked off various schools sites under construction, due to the government’s failure to pay an estimated R104 million and a further R9 million that is owed to consultants for the projects.
MEC Pemmy Majodina told Dispatch LIVE that the Department of Public Works was still waiting for payments from the education department and will pay the builders and consultants only once it has received the funds.
“The service level agreement between the two departments (Department of Education and Department of Public Works) was that public works paid contractors on behalf of the Department of Education, and then the department of education would later reimburse them,” said public works spokesperson Vuyokazi Mbanjwa.
“The department of public works has begun a process of paying outstanding invoices, the processing is done based on provincial treasury confirmation of budget availability,” she adds.
This issue has not been easy on the constructors as they also had to stop working because of no money coming in for them to be able to feed their families.
“Last year contractors were owed more than R300 million, this is very painful. The government is assisting in killing the local construction business,” noted the chair of the Eastern Cape black contractors association Sakhela Skenjana.