Sankwasa angry over maintenance of Ella du Plessis hostel

22 Feb 2016 18:00pm
WINDHOEK, 22 FEB (NAMPA) - The Deputy Minister of Works and Transport has lashed out at the management and learners of Ella du Plessis High School hostel for the dilapidated state of the building; mainly its sewerage system.
Visiting the hostel in Khomasdal on Monday, James Sankwasa described the situation as very unhealthy.
His visit follows a sewerage blockage and sewage overflow at the hostel on Friday last week.
Sankwasa said the problem is being rectified as his ministry’s staff is working on fixing the sewerage system.
He expressed disappointment that paper, porridge and cement bricks blocked the system.
“I must register that I am disappointed when we try to fix these things, our own children are blocking it with rubbish and throwing porridge in the drainage system.
“I want to implore on the principal and request the school management to make sure that when Government brings its side to correct the situation, management must ensure proper supervision of the hostel. There is a superintendent here but why do they allow the kids to block the drainage system with paper and cement blocks?” he wanted to know.
The hostel consists of two blocks – one for girls and one for boys - with 37 rooms in each block.
Each room accommodates four learners.
The deputy minister said there is N.dollars 750 000 left in the ministry’s budget for maintenance in the Khomas Region during February and March this year before the next financial year starts in April.
“If it is not used now, it (money) will go back to Treasury,” he noted.
Sankwasa said the Khomas Education Region has N.dollars 600 000 left and the Khomas Regional Council has N.dollars 150 000, noting that this money should also be used for other schools and cannot be used for Ella du Plessis alone.
“We have other schools in Khomas that are facing the same problem and are equally affected. We must use this money for them too,” he said, while pointing out that the Augustineum Secondary School and People's Primary School have similar problems.
A furious Sankwasa implored parents to also educate their children, because they (children) do not do such things in the homes they come from.
“We as parents should have a hand in helping the education authority to correct the situation.
“I am pleading with the parents and the school authorities to say ‘let’s pull together’, it is not only the responsibility of Works [ministry]. Yes, we have the responsibility of providing technical services, but when we do the administration of the school the parents must also come in.” Sankwasa noted that although the hostel has been in existence since 1964, its renovation and the building of a new hostel is a long-term project, which needs a new budgeting approach.
While agreeing with the deputy minister that the problem requires proper education of the learners, the hostel superintendent Chrispin Sikambo blamed the situation on illegal occupants such as teachers and other Government officials who reside on the hostel premises.
He told members of the media after the deputy minister left for a meeting that some illegal occupants live there with their families of up to six in the hostel’s garages, while others reside in the hostel blocks and share the bathrooms with the learners.
Sikambo said the illegal occupants were served with eviction notices by the Ministry of Education to vacate the hostel premises by the end of last year, but they have not yet left the place because they are paying that ministry to stay there.
“This is a continuous problem; we had a problem with running water before and we had been reporting these problems. They [works ministry] send people here to repair and thereafter the problem persists. The hostel is old and we need major renovations,” he said.