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Deaf school was warned of imminent fire

 

The Northwest School for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children hostel was warned that it did not comply with the needs of the learners.

 

Three pupils died and 23 were injured when the fire engulfed the school's dormitories.

 

According to the Deaf Federation of South Africa , the warning was by US based Rochester Institute of Technology when they visited the school.

 

"Rochester Institute of Technology identified that the school does not comply to needs for Deaf Learners if there should be a fire, this report was handed to the Department of Education in the North West and nothing was done to ensure that Deaf learner’s safety needs are addressed," DeafSA said in a statement.

 

"It is very unfortunate that lives must be lost before matters are addressed. This again confirmed that Deaf people are treated like second hand class citizens and not taken seriously by the Department of Education, letters are written to the Minister of Basic Education and there is no response."

 

However, North West MEC for education and sports development, Maphefo Matsemela said safety at the school was satisfactory.

 

"I wanted to check if the fire extinguishers didn't expire, they expire in 2016. I checked almost everything that is needed for safety wherever there is fire. I'm convinced that everything was in place...safety here if not 100 percent it was a hundred and 20 percent," said Matsemela.

 

Some pupils were still recovering in hospital while others have been housed at neighbouring boarding schools.

 

Meanwhile, North West police said they were investigating the cause of a fire.

 

- eNCA

 

Article published with the kind courtesy of www.enca.com

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