Nsanje District Council has approved the demolition a classroom block at Phombwe Primary School which was constructed with funds amounting to K10 million under the District Development Fund (DDF) on grounds that the structure is a death trap to learners.
The resolution was made on Thursday in Nsanje during a Full Council meeting where the Works Service Committee, Chairperson George Dumba which was tasked to assess the building advised that the structure in question is at risk of collapsing.
He said the committee had established that there was very little cement used in the construction of the structure, adding that the builders used wrong enforcement materials.
“Construction works of the school block is at a finishing stage. We had to meet the communities and traditional leaders who made it very clear that the block will no longer be habitable as it poses a threat to learners,” Dumba expalined.
“Even the contractor confessed that he was just being used as a figurehead and the materials used in the project were not enough and of substandard.
Therefore, as a committee we are asking the house to endorse demolition of the block,” he added.
The Chairperson said the contractor for the project claimed that his sponsor, Matundu Ward Councillor, Bester Chiungano is to blame for the mess because he withdrew K4 million or so from the account which was allegedly used for other purposes.
However, Chiungano declined to comment on the matter.
Nsanje District Council has since endorsed the recommendation by the service committee and agreed to summon the contractor to map the way forward.
District Education Service Committee Chairperson, Rose Makiyi said it was the responsibility of the council to protect lives of children from poor workmanship as is the case with Phombwe.
“We need to protect our children by demolishing the structure and meet the contractor so that we agree on one thing for the benefit of the community and the district at large,” she said.
Traditional Authority (TA) Makoko, in whose area the school is located, accused the Council of taking too long to address their concerns over the substandard structure, fearing for learners’ lives.
“The status of the classroom block is a death trap for learners. Efforts have been made to seek the Council’s action but to no avail. We fear for the lives of learners and teachers who are currently using the structure,” Makoko pointed out.