94+ Schools Infrastructure Project

The Department of Basic Education launches the 94+ Schools Infrastructure Project in support of Mandela Day

The Department of Basic Education in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, Brand South Africa and several partners in education on Tuesday 10 April 2012 launched the 94+ Schools Infrastructure Project as part of International Mandela Day in Houghton, Johannesburg.

Mandela Day is marked across the world on July 18 every year to inspire every person to take action to help change the world for the better and in doing so, build a global movement for good.

The Department of Basic Education reaffirmed the Mandela Day theme “Take Action. Inspire Change. Make Every Day Mandela Day” by launching 94+ Schools Project For Madiba, a unique way of celebrating former President Nelson Mandela’s 94th birthday this year, while leaving a permanent mark in the country’s school infrastructure.

“The 94 Schools Project originates in the former President’s strong view on the importance of education, and his world-acclaimed efforts to build an equitable system of education in South Africa,” said Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.

Click here to read the minister's speech.


The late former President Nelson Mandela’s 94th birthday presented the Department of Basic Education with an opportunity to do good with our school infrastructure. In partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Department of Basic Education wanted to pay tribute to him and what he stood for by making a visible difference to the lives of children served by at least 94 schools in South Africa. 

The primary objective of the “94 Schools Project” was to celebrate the late Mr Mandela’s 94th birthday by giving hope and dignity to children through improvements in their learning environment. The intention of the Department was to mobilise resources and support from various sectors of society around the enormous task of alleviating the infrastructure backlog primarily for schools serving the poor.

The secondary objectives are:

  • (a)  Forming part of Government’s broader infrastructure roll-out plan to bring better living conditions for all
  • (b)  Contributing to South Africa’s skills development programme by utilising this project to provide skills training to unemployed youth
  • (c)  Contributing to job creation
  • (d)  Broadly contribute to economic development in the country

The late former President Mandela forged invaluable partnerships with the private sector towards the building of schools, particularly in poor communities across South Africa – an initiative that the education sector can build on.

The Department invites interested organisations to pledge their support for this project by sending an email to taylor.l@dbe.gov.za. A representative will contact you to facilitate the requisite planning towards ensuring that your pledge will be fulfilled.

Situation analysis

It is beyond dispute that education continues to face enormous infrastructure challenges, which impact negatively on the quality of teaching and learning in many of our schools.  It is, however, important to note that significant achievements have been recorded in the provision of infrastructure to schools to date. Since 2000 the following has been provided to our communities: 

  • 1,206 schools have been built
  • 38,664 additional classrooms have been built
  • 5,214 schools were provided with water infrastructure
  • 10,621 sanitation projects were completed
  • 28,805 toilet seats were installed
  • 2,847 schools were provided with electrical infrastructure
  • 2,655 schools were provided with security fencing

Despite these achievements there are still huge gaps in terms of insufficient infrastructure provision, for example: shortage of classrooms, laboratories and libraries; the replacement of pit latrines and mud structures; and inadequate maintenance leading to leaking roofs, broken windows and doors.

The Department estimates that R66.6bn is required to elevate all ordinary schools to a level of optimal functionality. This amount excludes: preliminaries, escalations, professional fees and VAT.  An additional estimate of R20bn is required for maintenance and repairs to existing infrastructure.

26% of public schools are of a poor or very poor condition and it is also clear that the physical infrastructure and other school resources have not kept up with the requirements of the recent curriculum reforms, resulting in accumulated backlogs and resourcing of many schools. It is therefore very clear that it will take the Department 30 years to clear the current infrastructure “conditions”, maintenance and “space” backlogs with the current rate of allocations.

List of needs

It is clear that the physical conditions and levels of functionality prevalent within the current stock of educational facilities vary considerably and the following will need to be achieved in order for us to achieve optimal functionality in all of our schools:

  • (a)   Rehabilitate/repair existing school infrastructure
  • (b)   Provide infrastructure to match curriculum requirements (e.g. libraries, laboratories, computer centres, nutrition centres, administration blocks, sports fields etc.)
  • (c)   Replace inappropriate school structures (partial structures) and non-operational school structures (dangerous and partially collapsed structures)
  • (d)   Extend existing schools with additional classrooms

The following backlog is being experienced with regard to curriculum spaces at schools across South Africa:

  • 446 Replacement of mud, wood, prefabricated and metal structures
  •  514 Schools to be provided with sanitation
  •  714 Schools to be electrified
  •  1,069 Schools to be provided with water
  •  4,050 Sports facilities
  • 13,617 Computer centres
  • 14,989 Libraries
  • 15,368 Multipurpose rooms
  • 15,435 Nutrition centres
  • 16,516 Administration blocks
  • 18,258 Laboratories

In addition many schools also do not have sufficient desks and chairs for learners and teachers to work on.

Click here for a list of priority schools.