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EC schools suffer under Zuma's broken promise

An EWN probe has revealed some schools in the Eastern Cape lack infrastructure, furniture and resources.

Some schools in the Eastern Cape operate out of mud houses and tin shacks with little or no furniture and resources. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Some poverty-stricken schools in the Eastern Cape are asking why their furniture and infrastructure problems have not yet been addressed while others have seen dramatic improvements over the past few years.

The state of schools in the province was addressed in President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address in June, where he promised to deal with all furniture issues by mid-August this year.

However, a special investigation by Eyewitness News has found that some schools are still without adequate furniture.

A woman whose children and grandchildren attend the Samson Primary School near Mthatha says nothing has changed at the school over the past 20 years, including furniture problems.

She says there's a lack of basic infrastructure such as desks, chairs and textbooks along with poor water and sanitation.

"Nothing about this place says it's a school. We have nothing, no books, desks or chairs."

But the basic education department's Elijah Mhlanga says they have started delivering furniture around schools in the province but adds they are not working to a deadline.

"There are other schools that already exist that do not have desks and chairs and other resources and we'll be delivering furniture. We continue to deliver them in those schools in the province."

Many pupils at Samson Primary have been forced to share a single desk, while some use chairs as desks because of a lack of recourses.

A grade 3 teacher at the school says the school has several problems.

"We have nothing at all. There's no sanitation and we're using one toilet."

At the same time, a grade 2 teacher has told Eyewitness News the conditions are unbearable.

"When it's raining the learners are getting wet inside so there's no teaching when it rains."

Mhlanga says the department has sent a team to the Eastern Cape to assess the situation.

"A team from the department of basic education has been in the Eastern Cape to find out if the deliveries have been made."

Samson Primary is one of a number still needing attention but it remains unclear when or even if the president's promise will be kept.