Two Manenberg schools are preparing to make way for the new R2.4 billion Klipfontein Regional Hospital, which needs at least 7 hectares of land.
On the corners of Duinefontein and Turfhall roads, the phasing out of pupil intake at Sonderend Primary School and Silverstream High School has already begun, said the secretary-general of the Manenberg Business Forum Fareed Jansen.
Talk of the schools’ closure started about five years ago and had initially been met with outrage by the school governing body (SGB), with Jansen saying no alternative schooling had been given to pupils at the time.
Since then Jansen has been in talks with the provincial education department, and it has been decided that a school of skills will be built at the old GF Jooste Hospital site, expected to be completed in 2021.
The new regional hospital would act as a referral hospital for surrounding areas, with an expected completion date in 2029.
Provincial health department spokesperson Mark van der Heever said:
“Within the context of the limited availability of suitable land within Manenberg, the Western Cape government has identified a potential site that could meet the requirements for a new regional Hospital and ambulance base. The site, on the corner of Duinefontein and Turfhall roads, is currently occupied by the Sonderend Primary School and Silverstream High School.”
Jansen, a former SGB chairperson, said currently Silverstream only had pupils in Grades 10, 11 and 12. In 2021, the school would only have a matric class pending its closure.
“The school of skills as an alternative is exactly what we wanted. When the department initially told us to stop taking pupils, they didn’t offer an alternative. It’s been a fight, a battle with them,” Jansen said.
Provincial education spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said the plan fell in line with the Manenberg community steering committee and the province having reached a consensus.
SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) provincial chairperson Jonovan Rustin accused the Education Department of not playing its cards openly over the past few years, leaving residents in a state of constant confusion.