Education authorities assess fire damage

A block of five classrooms at Sinzogoro Senior Primary School in Kavango West will have to be demolished and rebuilt.

03 January 2020 | Accidents

KENYA KAMBOWE



The Kavango West Education directorate is looking at all possible ways of rebuilding the Sinzogoro Senior Primary School five-classroom block that was destroyed by fire two weeks ago.

The Kavango West education director, Teopolina Hamutumwa told Namibian Sun that the directorate was engaging a number of stakeholders in order to address the issue as soon as possible.

“We are trying to see how best we can deal with the matter. We have started engaging different stakeholders, in fact we have started with the procurement process as we are busy assessing the damage caused,” Hamutumwa said.

The incident happened in the early hours of 20 December when villagers saw smoke coming from the school and alerted the school management.

The school is situated at Sinzogoro village, about 30 kilometres West of Rundu.

The roofing, classroom furniture, windows, doors and electrical wiring were destroyed in the fire.

Attempts to get comment from the school principal, Joseph Sikongo, proved futile as his phone was unreachable and he did not respond to a text message.

When Sikongo was interviewed by the NBC on the day of the incident, he said he suspected the fire had been caused by an electrical fault.

He said he had reported a problem with the wiring to the regional education directorate and the works and transport ministry but nothing was done.

“This situation has been reported through the directorate of education and through the ministry of works and transport; they know about this situation. Actually the electrical cable is not well because sometimes it goes on and sometimes off,” Sikongo told the national broadcaster.

When asked about this, Hamutumwa said the fault might have been reported but the complaint never reached her office.

Hamutumwa said a forensic investigation would have to identify the cause of the fire and until then, it was just speculation to blame it on the wiring.

The school offers classes from grade one to eight and has about 500 learners.

That number was expected to increase next year because of the introduction of grade nine, and the loss of five classrooms is a heavy blow for the school.

Hamutumwa said temporary structures, including tents, would be used until the building can be replaced.

She said the fire damage is so severe that the entire building would have to be demolished.

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