Home News Mop-up operations start at NC school gutted by fire

Mop-up operations start at NC school gutted by fire


The department was in the process of securing alternative venues where schooling could take place next week.

ASSESSING: MEC Martha Bartlett and the mayor of Siyathemba Municipality, Howard Tsume, at Sonskyn Intermediate School in Marydale. Picture: Supplied

LEARNING and teaching at Sonskyn Intermediate School in Marydale has been suspended for the week following a fire that partially gutted the school.

Eleven classrooms were totally destroyed by the fire on Saturday evening.

Northern Cape MEC of Education, Martha Bartlett, visited the school yesterday to assess the damage to the building while spokesperson for the department, Geoffrey van der Merwe, said that classes had been cancelled for the week as mop-up operations were continuing.

“We will have a contractor on site on Tuesday (today) to remove the damaged classrooms. Eleven classrooms, desks, textbooks and other educational materials were destroyed during the incident. More than 300 pupils are affected.

“Only nine classrooms, the administration building, bathroom facilities and the nutrition facility were not affected. No schooling will take place this week as we have to ensure the safety of all pupils while the contractor is on site,” Van der Merwe said.

He added that the department was also in the process of securing alternative venues where schooling could take place next week.

“We have identified two churches and a community hall where foundation phase pupils, Grade R to Grade 2, will be accommodated. We, however, first need to assess these facilities and ensure that they are child-friendly and safe for the pupils to occupy.

“Pupils in Grade 3 to Grade 9 will be accommodated in the nine classrooms that are still intact. The textbooks and furniture that were destroyed will also be replaced.”

Van der Merwe said the department was still assessing the monetary costs involved in the matter.

“We do not know what the cause of the fire was, but the police are investigating the matter. We are also doing an assessment with teachers on all resources that were lost during the incident. We will submit a recommendation to the examination unit to determine how to assist learners in the June examinations,” he said.

He added that they met with parents, teachers and the Student Governing Body (SGB) to communicate the way forward.

Police spokesperson, Captain Olebogeneg Tawana, said a case of arson was being investigated. “Marydale police are investigating a case of arson following an incident on Saturday evening. The cause of the fire is being investigated. No-one has been arrested in connection with the incident. The investigation is ongoing,” said Tawana.