By ‘Odidi Matai-Sigudla
Thirteen years after the Makhanda High Court order, the official handover for Amasango Career School’s temporary school premises occurred on 20 September 2023 in Extension 10, Joza location.
Principal Agent and project Quantity Surveyor Siyalizwa Magida confirmed in the handover meeting that the school, currently housed in prefabricated classrooms, would finally get the proper school they had been fighting for all these years.
The meeting, chaired by Magida, was attended by various stakeholders, including the project contactor, Mpumalanga Construction’s Management team, Ward 12 councillor and LED and Planning coordinator, Mzobanzi Nkwentsha, project architect Beverley Mandimutsira, Civil and Structural Engineer Mahomba Nonxuba, Amasango Career School principal Dr. Girlie Shadaya, Ward Three Councillor Andile Hoyi and community members.
Magida explained that the meeting was to hand over the two sites in Extension 10, one for the school premises and the other, the sports field, to contractor Mpumalanga Construction, which will manage the project set to begin on 27 September 2023 and scheduled to be completed on 27 June 2024 and that has a budget estimated at R22 million.
Magida explained that Amasango has waited so long for the premises because the Department of Education struggled to get enough land to build the school. “The site itself is more than two hectares so that we ensure that once we put in the school that, it’s enough in terms of meeting the minimum norms and standards, and it has space, for example, the special school and the children to be able to do other activities since it is a special school,” said Magida.
The school’s current location is at the railway station, which, health-wise, puts the learners at risk, says Shadaya. She added that the soil is covered in ash from the locomotives because they are near the graveyard, which is also problematic when the learners play on the current school premises.
Nkwentsha added that the school moved to Extension 10. “Social infrastructure must be within a community my thought that, especially for a special school, they can’t be too far away from society,” he says.
“Currently, we are doing phase one, meaning the emergency intervention, and then after that, we will do other phases in terms of the master planning because what we wanted is…to create something user-friendly to ensure that different phases that we do will fit in within the site,” said Magida. The plan is that school will continue, and children will be moved from the old school to the new classrooms as they finish building them.
“Within the school in itself, we did something called a courtyard facility,” Magida continued. “So within the school, there are places they can…play, but the sports field is on a different site. So we’ve handed over the site for both, meaning here we’re [going to]make the first phase in terms of intervention, and then down the block, we will fence for the school regarding the sports field.”
Hoyi added that the project would benefit the community. “At the end of the day, we are one government, and the most important part is that we get the school,” he said.