R104m debt halts building at 37 Eastern Cape schools

“I cannot give the exact number, but many of them are waiting for payments,” he said.

According to a list tabling the details of each of the projects, the 37 schools are in OR Tambo, Chris Hani, Sarah Baartman, Amathole, Alfred Nzo and Joe Gqabi districts.

They include Asherville Primary in Graaff-Reinet, where construction was suspended on August 17 due to an outstanding amount of R2.5m.

On the new Grens Laerskool in East London, contractors were said to be owed just over R11m.

Skenjana said the amount owed to contractors last year was three times higher.

“Last year contractors were owed more than R300m. This is very painful. The government is helping to kill the local construction business.”

Skenjana said the amount was reduced after a bailout from the National Treasury. “After receiving no joy from education, we approached the ANC and the provincial treasury. Treasury then made available R400m to clean out the debt.”

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