A Giyani Primary school partly closed due to non-compliance – Employment and Labour

An Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) inspector in Giyani, Limpopo Province has partially closed a school following a reactive inspection that took place on Wednesday 07 September 2022 at Matsambu Primary School Nkuri Village. The inspection follows a tip-off from the Basic Conditions of Employment Inspectors during a planned inspection at the school, they notified the OHS inspector to visit the school as they were horrified about the condition of the building in which learners and teachers were learning and teaching was taking place.

The school was found not to be compliant with the OHS Act 85 of 1993 as amended – which specifies that if the state of the building threatens or threatens the health and/or safety of persons, then the building should be prohibited with immediate effect from being occupied or continued used in terms of section 30 of the above said Act.

The inspector prohibited parts of the school based on the following:

1. Library Building

The library building is used to store old unused books and tools and was also used as an office or rest area for the student’s assistants. The condition of the library building was as follows:

The electricity in the building was not working and it was dark in the room.

Some of the shelves used to store the books were unstable and not in a good condition. They are at risk of falling at any given time.

Even though there were a lot of books and tools stored in the building, with the high risk of fire there was no provision of fire extinguishers.

The building could be a very good hiding spot for serpents as there are a lot of things stored in it and the housekeeping is not good.

The school grounds have long grass that could attract snakes, which could easily go and hide in the building since the door was also not working.

The building was prohibited from being used.

2. Old School Buildings (also known as Ma-2 room block and hall block)

The school still had the old school blocks that were constructed when the school was opened. These two school buildings were named Ma-2 room block and hall block. These two old buildings are used as classrooms, a school hall, and a storeroom. The condition of the old school building was as follows:

The electricity in the building did not work and there were exposed electricity wires from the ceiling and walls.

Some of the walls of the building were cracked and most windows were removed and broken.

Both buildings did not have fire extinguishers or any means of fire protection.

Most of the classrooms did not have doors and windows and students are exposed to the weather elements when using them.

The floors, walls, and roof were all not in a good condition.

3. Students’ Toilet

The school had two separate toilet buildings for male students and female students.:

The urinals were all broken and missing. Most of the toilet seats were damaged and not in good overall condition.

The ventilation system, which consists of external chimney pipes that help to extract the odours from the toilets was damaged and removed. There are many exposed holes at the back of the toilet, which is a hazard for the learners as they could fall in.

The hygienic condition of the building was very bad and it could be a breeding ground for diseases.

4. Change rooms, facilities, environmental and general safety

Fire extinguishers: were not provided in the whole workplace.

First aid box: was provided with suitable first aid contents.

Lights: all the rooms and offices had lights and luminaires that were defective and are not replaced or repaired.

Roof, floors, and walls: the roof was in a good condition in most of the building but most had falling ceiling boards.

The floors had potholes in some of the classrooms. Most of the classrooms had broken windows and broken or missing doors.

OHS Specialist Lucia Ramusi said, “There is a misconception that OHS Act is only applicable to the private sector. The truth is it is applicable to all sectors in the working environment including government. Our inspectors are working around the clock to inform and enforce compliance across the province, and the department urges all employers to ensure that they comply with the Act to prevent business interruptions.

Ramusi said Inspectors are expected to protect vulnerable communities and as a province, we are elated to see them assisting the community as required by the legislation.

Source: Government of South Africa

News Reporter