Legal action looming against Pampoenboere

AfriForum Youth is considering legal action against the Potchefstroom Agricultural College (known as the Pampoenboere) after the failure of ongoing efforts to get the college to address its dilapidated infrastructure.

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According to AfriForum Youth spokesperson Ian Cameron, AfriForum has tried unsuccessfully since 2010 to engage with management on the decay of the campus buildings. “Management has refused to provide financial information on the upkeep of the buildings. Health and safety audits by independent consultants have shown that the buildings are dangerous to the well-being of students,” he said.

Cameron claimed that efforts at communication by AfriForum have largely been ignored by college management and the organisation had no option but legal action. “We sent a letter on 25 April 2012 requesting information – on the strength of the Promotion of Access to Information Act – on the money spent since 2005 on the maintenance of the college buildings. The college was given 30 days to react, after which we will look at possible legal options,” he said.

Cameron added that certain buildings were so neglected that they had been occupied by bats and owls, and on one student building sewerage was leaking down the outside wall. “It’s devastating to see this once-proud institution going to ruins. Management simply does not care,” he said. Spokesperson for the North West agriculture department, Bonolo Mohlakoana, denied claims that nothing was being done.

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“We submitted requests on the matter to the Department of Public Works, Transport and Roads in 2005,” she said. “In 2009 the Alex Holm Hall was renovated, and work started this year on the Cambridge, Oxford and Yale residences. I find it strange that AfriForum continues to take photographs and write reports on the Selbourne residence that still needs to be fixed.” Asked why the buildings had been allowed to deteriorate to this extent, Mohlakoana said they were very old and it “took time to find and allocate funds”.