Safety must be the number one priority at mega state-of-the-art school Noordgesig Primary School in Diepkloof, Johannesburg

This was the wish of jovial parents on Wednesday morning as the first day of the 2020 academic year kicked off after the revamped school premises were officially opened by Gauteng Premier David Makhura and City of Joburg Mayor Geoff Makhubo, together with Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi and Infrastructure MEC Tasneem Motara.

Dressed in their blue tunics, grey shorts, blue shirts and jerseys, excitement was evident on the faces of the pupils. Some were starting school for the first time while others were returning. This time, however, it would not be to a dilapidated school or temporary structures, but to a fully walled classroom.

Bernice Masela, a mother of two pupils attending Grade 1 and 5, said although she was excited about the new infrastructure, she hoped there would also be an investment in security.

Masela said her seven-year-old daughter had done Grade R at a nearby crèche and that was the reason why she took her to Noordgesig Primary to continue her education.

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“We have lived in Noordgesig for a long time and we are used to the community, which is why I’m comfortable bringing them to this school.

“My wish is that this school can get security that can work day and night because we would really like for the school to be safe,” Masela said. She said the previous infrastructure at the school was not safe for primary school children.

Another parent, Stanferd Ramrock, whose son is in Grade 2, described how the little one excitedly arose early on Wednesday morning to get ready for school.

“The [old] school was a little bit rusty but this one is much bigger and children will enjoy themselves.”

Ramrock said they were confident that the facility would be safe, adding that it was also pleasing to see that emergency rooms were built too.

Handing over the school to the education department, Motara said the journey of building the facility was an example as it was delivered in good time, as promised to the community.

“We have delivered it in record time and we almost stayed within the budget. But we have invested R110m as provincial government into this community.”

Motara said while building the facility, opportunities to the value of close to R40m were given to 59 local sub-contractors and almost 150 labourers, including 30 EPWP learners who would now be accredited with training in work skills for being part of the 18-month project.

The MEC urged the parents and community as a whole to take care of the facility.