Will it be ready on time? That’s the question on the minds of anxious parents who have enrolled their children at the new R38 million Hayfields Primary School being built by the Department of Education at the top of Hesketh Drive. With the end of year looming contractors are working flat out to make-up construction time lost during work stoppages and other delays.
Problems with payment of the building contractors working on site at the new Hayfields Primary School have delayed completion of the new school. Maritzburg Sun visited the construction site to see what progress was being made. Workers were working flat out finishing the paving and other outstanding cosmetic finishes. The classrooms and office blocks appeared complete and ready for next year’s intake.
According to some workers on site the project suffered severe delays when construction work was halted, allegedly as a result of the Department of Education not paying the contractor for work already completed. Construction should have been complete and the school handed over to the department seven months ago.
Despite the setbacks staff of the school have assured pupils and parents that the school will be open and ready to commence teaching at the start of new term in January. Principal of the new school Olwyn Niemand says it’s all systems go and that staff are eagerly looking forward to the new academic year.
“The school is looking great so far and we are just awaiting responses from the department about the completion. It will open next year,” she promised.
The Department of Education appointed a committee of principals from the area to advise and assist with the structure of curriculum, uniforms, stationery and other details.
One of the principals on the committee, Louis Botha, said, “Our job is to create a structure for the school and we have done so. Uniforms of grey shorts and white shirts have been suggested but the still to be appointed governing body will make the final decision. The school emblem however, will be the aloe plant as it is a characteristic plant of the area.”
“There is no question about the readiness, although we are also concerned. The school has to open regardless of whether it is complete or not. The classrooms and offices have been completed so the school should be able to open. We hope after all this hard work that the opening will happen without any complications,” said Botha.
He also said that regular meetings had been held with parents of prospective learners to keep them up to date.
Botha said several meetings were held with the parents on a regular basis to keep them up to date.
Repeated fruitless attempts were made to contact Department of Education spokesperson Musi Mhlambi on Tuesday to confirm whether the school would, in fact, open as anticipated on 15 January.
Msunduzi ward councillor Vic Winterbach said that he was also concerned about the progress on the school as the site had been ‘active and inactive too many times’.
“Hopefully the department has a trick up its sleeve to ensure the project’s completion,” said Winterbach.