A public-private sector collaboration in the water and sanitation sector is bearing good fruits through a High-Performing Schools Programme aimed at equipping selected primary and secondary schools in disadvantaged Limpopo communities with innovative and modular infrastructure.
This is as Water and Sanitation Deputy Minister, Mr David Mahlobo and Lebalelo Water User Association Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Bertus Bierman, handed over additional ablution facilities, which included the upgrading of existing toilets to a close loop flush toilet system and various containerised facilities including a computer laboratory and a library, housed within a paved under-roof school gathering at the Kwata Primary School in Ga-Phala on Wednesday, 15 March 2023.
The handover also included potable water storage tanks, the installation of solar panels to assist with consistent electricity supply and a wastewater treatment facility.
The High-Performing Schools Programme is a Socio-Economic Development Initiative of the Olifants Management Model Programme which was launched by Lebalelo Water User Association and the Department late last year in Burgersfort, with an aim to fast-track potable and bulk raw water infrastructure to supply targeted communities and mines in the Sekhukhune and Mogalakwena Districts.
The programme targets primary and secondary schools and creates a platform for innovative training and thinking in sustainable water use and conservation, sustainable electricity supply, improved ablution facilities and school gathering area projects as well as connectivity and teacher aids amongst others.
Deputy Minister Mahlobo said the partnership reinforced the department to build and strengthen collaborative efforts as a means to improve and enhance the delivery of services in the sector.
“I am pleased that government has come to a point of working quite efficiently with the private sector for the greater good of communities. In working together like a hand in glove, not only can we achieve more, but we will most definitely uplift communities and move the sector to greater heights,” said Deputy Minister Mahlobo.
Also addressing teachers, learners, and parents at the school, Bierman stated that of importance to the Water User Association, was fostering relations with government, while improving the lives of people in marginalized communities.
“The handover is one of many to come in our area of operation in the Sekhukhune and Mogalakwena Districts. Our aim is to also unlock the region’s strategic mineral and industrial potential and provide much-needed potable water to a yard connection for approximately 380 000 people,” he said,
Bierman added the Association aims to ensure water security, create significant job opportunities through direct, indirect, and induced employment for an estimated 42 000 people for the duration of the OMM and socio-economic development aspect, which is the school’s programme.
The MEC for Basic Education in the province, Maureen Lerule-Ramakhanya was also part of the handover and came out in support of the public-private sector collaboration which will assist with improving facilities in targeted schools, making them more conducive for teaching and learning. The Department of Basic Education in Limpopo, through MEC Lerule-Ramakhanya has supported the pilot project of the High-Performing Schools Programme since inspection and has approved the design of the ablution facilities.
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