By Nqobile Tshili
Government yesterday said preliminary findings of an investigation launched after the roof of a newly constructed classroom block collapsed at Maranatha High School in Bulawayo last week, point to poor workmanship.
The roof of the classroom block at the Seventh Day Adventist church-run school collapsed following strong winds resulting in seven pupils being injured last week on Wednesday.
In an interview, acting Bulawayo Provincial Education Director Mrs Olicah Kaira said the Department of Public Works came up with preliminary findings on what could have led to the collapse of the building.
“The Department of Public Works has released its preliminary report and we are still processing it. Public Works hints that the contractor could have done a shoddy job. The element of shoddiness cannot be overruled,” said Mrs Kaira.
She said a recommendation has been made to the school to hire a competent engineer to ensure that a good job is done during repairs.
Mrs Kaira said the Department of Public Works has also made recommendations on the type of materials to be used for the school’s roofing purposes.
She said the seven pupils who were hospitalised when the building collapsed have all been discharged from hospital.
“Six of them are back in school but one of them is recovering from home. School officials visited her at home and she is walking with the aid of crutches. But I’m confident she will be back in school very soon,” Mrs Kaira.
She said the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education was taking the Maranatha High School incident as a lesson for schools not to make similar mistakes in constructing high rise buildings.
“We have learnt our lesson. I was speaking to the head of Mpopoma High School as well today. To say Mpopoma you are building the same structure, are you assuring us that all is in place. He assured me that they were following recommendations from the Department of Public Works,” said Mrs Kaira.
She said schools involved in any construction work would be directed to work with the Public Works Department to avert any similar challenges.
Mrs Kaira said Maranatha High School might need public support to put up a new roof. The Chronicle