No one knows when building will restart on the Manenberg School of Skills
The construction tender was ruled invalid because of bungling by a Western Cape government department
- Construction of the R84-million Manenberg School of Skills came to a halt in October 2022.
- In March 2023 the High Court set aside the contract citing various bungles of the tender award by the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works.
- The government says a new procurement process is underway but could give no timeline on when construction will resume.
- Meanwhile the Manenberg community says there is an urgent need for the school and the current facility is under equipped and inadequate.
The Western Cape Education Department says “it is not clear when work will resume” on the new Manenberg School of Skills, an R84-million construction project that came to a halt last year after court action.
Silverstream Senior Secondary was converted to a School of Skills in 2019 and currently has 234 registered learners. The new school, expected to enrol about 400 learners, was under construction on the site of the former GF Jooste Hospital on Duinefontein Road. When completed, the old Silverstream high school will be demolished to make way for the new Klipfontein Regional Hospital.
H&I Civil and Building started constructing in July 2022 but this came to a halt in October 2022, when “a company [Furipoint] that was not awarded the tender, initiated an interdict and review application against the award of the tender contract”, according to a statement by the Western Cape Department of Education.
Based on the High Court judgment setting aside the contract, blame for the delay and disruption caused can be squarely placed on the bungling of the tender by the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works (now the departments of infrastructure and of mobility).
In March 2023, Judge Hayley Slingers found the department had passed over the bid by Furipoint – which had scored higher points and had a bid that came in at a lower cost than H&I – based on procedural unfairness, incorrect facts, and “vague and uncertain criteria”.
“One day we went past and saw the containers were gone; only security on the site and no workers,” says Sureya Samson, who is on the project steering committee.
“The sad thing is nobody told the guys who were working anything … Some of the people didn’t get their money yet, and these people were desperate to get jobs.”
Members of the Manenberg community complain that they have been left out of the loop on what is happening with the school.
“Children who are currently in Silverstream High School of Skills do not have adequate equipment to use, so when the parents heard the new school was opening they were happy,” said Julia Maikoo, who works with Helping Hands, an organisation that works with “vulnerable youth”.
Patsy Daniels, of Lerato Family Foundation, said, “Silverstream High School doesn’t have capacity to house children who need the service. Parents are sending children to schools in Mitchells Plain and Cape Town. There are a lot of dropouts in Manenberg and we hoped they would fit in a school of skills where there are things they can do with their hands.”
The Western Cape Department of Infrastructure told GroudUp it “is currently implementing the proposed measures as provided by the ruling”.
“Once the procurement process is concluded, the department is committed to commence with the construction works as soon as possible to provide the community with the new school facility.”
But, Furipoint director Nawaal Rajah, says it is four months since the court ruling and “we have not received any feedback” from the government department.
“We truly hope that this matter would resolve itself soon, but have no control on timelines as that is in the hands of the Western Cape government.”
Provincial education department spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said, “A School of Skills assists learners with special needs who can’t cope or achieve in the National Curriculum Statement.”
“The focus of these schools is to make learners feel valued, to develop a sense of belonging, and a skill that they can use to progress in life. They are taught a skill that will enable them to enter the labour market. Learners receive academic as well as technical training at a School of Skills. Technical training is given in different subject areas depending on the learner’s ability and interest. This training helps the learner to either continue with his/her technical training or enter the world of work, after school.”
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