As 2021 approaches, for blind scholars attending Rivoni School for the blind in a Limpopo town it may just be another year of broken promises. Despite the Provincial Department of Education’s declarations it would upgrade the school over the years, nothing has happened.
But now the School Governing Body (SGB) says Rivoni will have new buildings by next year after another promise made by the department. SGB chairperson, Muhkantselo Mathimane told Health-e News that this time they believe the department is serious.
“At the moment, a tender notice has been advertised for a contractor and will be closing on the 29th of January 2021 and we are hopeful that before April next year, the building process will begin,” said Mathimane.
Blind and partially sighted learners at the school have been forced to learn while facing inhumane conditions, according to sources at Rivoni.
There is no proper sanitation and boarders at the school have been forced to live in squalid conditions where there are inadequate resources as well as shortages of learning equipment such as braille machines.
The 10th December is Human Rights Day but Mathimane believes there will be little to celebrate at the run-down school.
Education Department spokesperson Tidimalo Chuene has confirmed that government has re-advertised a tender starting on the 4th November.
“The tender briefing took place at the school on Tuesday (8th December) and it will close in January 2021,” she said.
“The contractor is expected to take up site in April 2021. We have in the meantime finalized the procurement of mobile hostels for the school,” said Chuene.
But Mathimane is cautious because Rivoni has heard this all before.
“We have been waiting for many years for the department of education to build us a new school but all they did over the recent years was to sell us promises which they never kept. But we are hopeful that this time around they will keep their promises as our learners have suffered enough under the current situation,” he said.Protestors blocked roads to bring attention to Rivoni School. (Ndivhuwo Mukhwevo/Health-e)