Education department committed to ridding Gauteng of asbestos schools

File: Research by Equal Education revealed that 29 schools in the province are entirely constructed of asbestos.

File: Two weeks after two Mpumalanga pupils died under mysterious circumstances, authorities still don't know the cause.

Gallo/Thuli Dlamini

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of Education reiterated its commitment to ridding the Gauteng province of asbestos schools on Tuesday.

That's following research by Equal Education which reveals that 29 schools in the province are entirely constructed of asbestos.

"We have committed to alleviate all asbestos schools and wish to reiterate that we will do away with all asbestos schools and mobile schools by 2023," said department spokesperson Steve Mabona.

The department recently opened a newly-built school in Westbury and they have also outlined plans to unveil another newly-built school in Noordgesig, Soweto in the forthcoming weeks.

READ: Lesufi meets to put an end to school 'deathtraps'

A 2019 to 2024 roadmap was also discussed in a meeting on Friday [14 June] with government officials, stakeholders and the public.

The department also indicated that it is open to input from the public on how to combat the Gauteng asbestos issue.

No asbestos-related cases have been reported as of yet, the department said.

What is asbestos? 

 A highly heat-resistant fibrous silicate mineral that can be woven into fabrics, and is used in brake linings and in fire-resistant and insulating materials.

 What is it used for? 

Asbestos materials have been used for insulation in buildings and in various products such as roofing materials, water supply lines and clutches, brake linings, gaskets and pads for automobiles.

Is asbestos harmful? 

Inhaled asbestos fibres aggravate lung tissues, which cause them to scar. This may cause cardiac failure.