The staff and teachers at Pilgrim’s Rest Primary School have a renewed pride in their school since extensive renovations to the buildings were completed by Transvaal Gold Mining Estates (TGME), a subsidiary of Stonewall Mining.
“We really appreciate the immense contribution made by the mine to the school as we are a low fee school, serving a very poor community,” said Selby Khoza, the school principal. “Since the renovations, it feels as though we are working in a new environment.” For many years TGME has also been sponsoring a teacher and an administrative clerk for the school as well as two teachers at the senior school.
For a long time, very little upkeep had been done at the school by the government. Besides being an eyesore, the damages to the buildings also posed serious health and safety risks for the children and staff. Amongst other things, many wall panels and windows were broken, there were electricity boxes without covers and exposed wires, as well as loose and broken light fittings which left classrooms in the dark. In the bathrooms, many of the toilets were damaged and without seats, basins were broken and water was running from leaking taps – even onto the walkways outside.
TGME’s renovation project included replacing all the broken windows and doors; repairing all the plumbing, lights and broken ceilings; cleaning up and painting the outside of the buildings, interiors of the bathrooms as well as the blackboards – so that teachers could write on them again. The work was done by maintenance and environmental staff still employed by the mine, together with two casual labourers employed from within the local community.
This and other contributions by TGME to social development have been made despite the mine has been in a planning and development phase for over three years, with no production during this time.
“We are pleased to have been able to assist the school with these necessary repairs and look forward to recommencing gold production operations in Pilgrims Rest and Sabie in future to bring much-needed employment into the area.”