Jobs created as high school building goes up

MEC Debbie Schafer, principal Khuselwa Nopote, MEC Donald Grant and Rabie Property managing director, Leon Cohen.

A new Sinenjongo High School, valued at R47 million, is preparing to open its doors to pupils by next year.

Last Thursday, Education MEC Debbie Schafer, and her counterpart, Transport and Public Works MEC Donald Grant, visited the site of the new school in Omarumba Drive, Milnerton.

Construction started in February last year after the Department of Transport and Public Works commissioned the school building for the Western Cape Education Department (“Sinenjongo High School nears completion,” Tabletalk, Wednesday, January 27).

Currently, Sinenjongo High School operates out of shipping containers a few hundred metres from the new site.

The MECs were joined by the Rabie Property Group at Century City, which adopted the school in 2007.

Together, they were taken on a walkabout by the architects.

The new school will have 33 classrooms, eight specialist classrooms, four science laboratories, ablution and storage facilities, an administration block, a computer room, a school hall, a media centre and a sports field.

Mr Grant, who referred to the container school as a “postage stamp site”, said if ever there was a partnership between the private and public sector, this was it.

“We had to beg, borrow and steal to get the site from Old Mutual. I am delighted to see this progress,” he said.

“The Sinenjongo High School project has also seen the creation of Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) work opportunities, including the vital skills training component.

“A total of R6 million is expected to go towards targeted contractor businesses, R5 million to suppliers and manufacturers and R5 million to targeted local labour, which saw 111 local labourers employed on site,” he said.

The Rabie Property Group played a big role in identifying the new school site. Its managing director Leon Cohen said education provided the key to escape poverty.

“The future of our country depends on a commitment from both the private and public sectors to improve the standard of education for the benefit of all.

“We are fully committed to Sinenjongo and the successful turnaround that has been achieved there has only been possible due to the reciprocal commitment of the Education Department, the principal, the teachers and learners,” said Mr Cohen.

Sinenjongo High school principal Khuselwa Nopote said the staff and pupils were excited about moving to a proper structure.

“I am especially happy about having a strong room where we can keep our matric papers.“We have been using Marconi Beam Primary School’s strong room all this time, and there was so much back and forth. “I am also happy about having our own staff room. Currently, we meet in the science lab or one of the classrooms,” said Ms Nopote.

She said that last week the school had been left in darkness for the whole week after its electricity cables were stolen, but the 921 pupils had continued working.

“I must commend Mr Grant and the school governing body.

“We were not high on the priority list, but I think it’s been our good school results that have helped this process along,” said Ms Nopote.

Sinenjongo has maintained a 90 percent matric pass rate for five years in a row – a far cry from the 28 percent it got eight years ago (“Sinenjongo excels for fifth year,” Tabletalk, January 13).

The new Sinenjongo will accommodate more than 1 200 pupils and space has been made available for future expansions.