The Joe Slovo Engineering High School has long been a source of pride to the residents of Khayelitsha, and many people were deeply disturbed to learn that the school has been attacked by vandals during the December holidays, rendering it largely unusable. The science laboratories were wrecked.
The Khayelitsha Development Forum immediately approached the Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs for help to refurbish the ruined school. The Ministry in turn recruited the assistance of the Community Work Programme – the CWP – to restore the science labs, install new windows in all classes with broken windows, paint the school, including the ceilings, as well as cleaning and maintaining the schoolyards.
And although the services of professional plumbers and electricians were required, the bulk of the labour came from the CWP participants from the Khayelitsha Site. Dladla Foundation as the Implementing Agent for CWP played a leading role in this process.
On completion of the work CoGTA Minister, Lechesa Tsenoli officially reopened the school at a short ceremony on 29 April 2014, by handing over the renewed science labs and refurbished school to the School Governing Body and School Management. It was also the beginning (again thanks to the facilitation of the Dladla Foundation) of a partnership between the CWP and the school in terms of future security and maintenance. The Khayelitsha Site Office for CWP will now be hosted at the school, and will provide safety and other support.
The reopening event was held at the Joe Slovo Engineering High School and guests included the leadership of the KDF, SGB and Sub-Council Chairperson as well as representatives of the Western Cape Education Department from Khayelitsha District.
Minister Tsenoli was greeted by over 3000 participants from the Cape Flats, Gugulethu and Manenburg, Lavender Hill and Phillipi. The acts of senseless vandalism and cable theft at the school were strongly condemned by the Minister, but he lauded the growth in skills and numbers of CWP members, whose participation was made possible by a budget allocation from the national coffers.