Part of Gauteng school swallowed by sinkhole

A large sinkhole has swallowed part of Relebogile High School in Khutsong on the West Rand. 

The DA on Thursday shared shocking pictures of the scene.  It said the sunken part included the school’s toilets.  

DA shadow MEC for education Khume Ramulifho has called on the Gauteng education department to send engineers to the school to assess whether it is safe for teachers and pupils to still be on the premises. 

This assessment should ensure precautionary measures are taken, Ramulifho said.

“Should it be found that it is unsafe to use the school, or parts of the school, the department must urgently ensure that learners and teachers are relocated to a safe place where learning and teaching can take place without any further interruption,” said Ramulifho. 

Khutsong is known for sinkholes during heavy rains. Urgent intervention should be implemented to prevent any unforeseen dangers caused by the sinkholes, Ramulifho said.

“The DA will be following up with the department on this issue. All our learners deserve to be taught in a safe environment that is conducive to learning and teaching.”

The Gauteng education department said it had dispatched its infrastructure unit to the school.

Spokesperson Steve Mabona said in the interim they are identifying areas such as churches and community centres for pupils to be placed in so learning can continue. 

“It must be noted that Merafong and Westonaria are dolomitic areas,” Mabona said. 

“Each time there are earth tremors, sinkholes develop. A geo-tech study has to be conducted to determine the severity of sinkholes and what future challenges are going to be, and what preventive measures are in place to deal with such challenges to avoid a natural disaster.” 

He said all detected challenges to infrastructure will be attended to. 

Political party Forum 4 Service Delivery (F4SD) expressed its concern about the growing threat of sinkholes in Khutsong.

Deputy secretary Kelly Lobeko said precautions should have been put in place to prevent or determine the cause of these sinkholes. 

“The lives of people in Khutsong are threatened and now learning and teaching have been disrupted.”

Lobeko said homes have disappeared into sinkholes in the past. 

“We expect to see action being taken to solve this problem for the sake of our people. This matter must be dealt with as soon as possible. Government officials mustn’t only visit the scene to witness the incident but take action afterwards.”


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Author: editor

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