Defend Truth


Most Western Cape schools reopen while province assesses damage

Most Western Cape schools reopen while province assesses damage
Repairs under way at Groenheuwel Primary School in Paarl. The Western Cape MEC for Education has received reports of damage at 144 schools, ranging from minor to serious. (Photo: Supplied)

Most schools in the Western Cape have reopened following days of inclement weather that damaged school infrastructure and roads.

On Wednesday, most schools in Western Cape had reopened, except for 16 that were badly damaged or had access roads blocked by the recent inclement weather, said Western Cape MEC for Education David Maynier. 

schools storm damage

Rhenish Primary School in Stellenbosch, Western Cape, was damaged after a storm hit the Winelands. (Photo: Supplied)

On Monday and Tuesday, schools in the province, particularly in the Cape Winelands, Overberg and Helderberg, were closed due to strong winds and heavy rains after a Level 9 weather warning.

Read more in Daily Maverick: ‘Better safe than sorry’ — hundreds of Western Cape schools remain closed over storms threat

Maynier told Daily Maverick on Wednesday: “Our default position is always to keep schools open, but in this instance, it was better to be safe than sorry, given the severity of the weather warnings.”

The province was battered by the winds and rain that damaged roads and blew off roofs, and according to News24, caused one fatality when a tree fell on a man in Paarl, in the Cape Winelands.

A total of 144 schools reported damage, “from minor issues such as leaks and fallen trees to serious damage like missing roof panels”. The department was evaluating the damage and making repairs.

groenheuwel primary

A classroom with a missing roof panel at Groenheuwel Primary School. (Photo: Supplied)

On Monday, nearly 270,000 learners stayed at home because of the closures.

On Tuesday, the inclement weather continued, but mostly affected the Cape Winelands and Overberg. A decision was made to close all schools in the region and Maynier said 220,000 learners stayed home.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Western Cape communities reel from effects of storm, Gift of the Givers responds in 17 areas

bishop lavis high school

Storm damage at Bishop Lavis High School in Cape Town. (Photo: Supplied)

“Now that schools are open again, teachers will evaluate how much work will need to be caught up for the two days missed, and will receive extra support from the department if needed,” Maynier said.

“Our infrastructure team and contractors must also be commended for their speedy response, which saw contractors at schools as early as Sunday afternoon undertaking repairs to prevent further damage.”

Mopping up

On Wednesday afternoon, Western Cape MEC for local government Anton Bredell said no additional weather warnings had been issued. However, light rain and possible showers were expected in the afternoon in parts of the Southern Cape. 

“Although the extreme weather is over, the public is asked to please be aware of potentially dangerous conditions in large parts of the province,” Bredell said.

There were warnings of rockfalls and mudslides that would remain a danger for at least the next week.

Bredell said municipalities would begin damage assessments with the Provincial Disaster Management Centre (PDMC) and relevant government departments. Once this was done, the PDMC would approach the National Disaster Management Centre for a disaster classification, the first step in applying for additional funding to repair the damage.

Premier Alan Winde said the province was focusing on humanitarian work such as identifying people who lost shelter and access to basic services during the storm.

“Through the coordination of our Department of Social Development, we are working closely with the NGO sector, local municipalities, as well as national departments to ensure that affected people receive shelter and food.” DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.

Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.7% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.3% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.3% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.3%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.