Residents of Gerald Estates in Francistown welcome the new project to build a junior secondary school in the location but are still yearning for other critical developments in their area especially a shopping complex.
At the moment, secondary school most children in Gerald Estates have to walk to school close to eight kilometres and more.
Recently the tender to build the long-awaited junior secondary school was allocated to a local construction company and the construction of the school.
The tender for the construction of the junior secondary school was awarded to a 100 percent Motswana owned company at 118 million pula and the tender for the teachers houses for that school was also awarded to a local company for 15 million pula.
The school tender was awarded to company called L&M Super Builders and it tender will run for 465 days, which is equivalent to 65 weeks starting on the 27 October. The teachers houses tender was awarded to a Botswana company called Seemise Seabelo Construction and that one is expected to run for 260 days which is equivalent to 37 weeks also from October 27.
For the residents of Gerald Estates it is a bitter sweet moment as they say that the school is not placed at the centre of the location and so some people in other areas of Gerald Estates will still suffer.
One of the residents of Gerald Estates Malebogo Motsokono said that though as residents they are happy to have their own junior secondary school other children would still struggle because of the location of the school.
“Children from Gerald 25, 26, 27 and 28 will benefit but others from Gerald 22 and Mophane Estates will struggle because the location of the new secondary school is still far from the areas,” she said.
Motsokono said that all in all it would be a better situation in Gerald because at the moment children are struggling too hard going to Montsamaisa and Goldmine Junior Secondary Schools in block four and eight respectively.
Motsokono said that for those children who have to walk to school it would be a total turn around.
“Right now children can sit in the bush and not go to school, they can get raped and robbed while trying to get to and from school so either way it is a welcome development for us here,” she stated.
Motsokono said that though they are happy about the school they desperately need a shopping complex in Gerald Estates. “We are desperate for shops in this area. We do not even have Choppies that sets up anywhere and it is very difficult for us because when we need the smallest thing we have to go to town,” she said. Motsokono said that the frustrating thing about the shops is the transport because it is expensive.
“When you need meat for P20 you have to budget P27 pula including transport and when you buy groceries they will also charge you for the groceries in the combi,” she added.
She said that they have taken government grants to run businesses but they have no spaces to operate in.
“If there is a complex I can take
She further said that the other problem that they are facing is of people who set up tuckshops in the location and then hike prices because they know that people have no choice.
“In Gerald bread is P10 where as you buy it five pula in town,” she said.
Another resident of Geralds Estates Pedzani Bob said that she is happy at the new development of the school because children will be safe from criminals in the bush while going to school.
She said that she had two children who to school and that she has to transport them every morning to go to school.
“It is expensive because it means that every morning I have to 14 pula for the both of them which is not easy,” she said.
She said that what also worries her about the distance of the schools was the fact that children do not read when they come from school because they arrive late and they are tired.
“Also when they arrive to school they are too tired to listen and they are just thinking of this road,” she added.
Bob shared the sentiments of other residents who complained of the lack of shops in Gerald Estates.
“When I go to town to buy I have to pay for my goods also on the combi. If I have sugar, flour, mealie-meal, each of them will cost P2.00 and more,” she said. She said that tuck shops are also expensive because the owners have to cover profit and also transport.
Mokgethi Nleba said that he is also glad that the school is coming because those people with no money for transport have suffered long enough.
“It has been very difficult for the people of Gerals but this is a good thing that the school is now coming,” he said.
Nleba said that now they need shops there as it is a struggle for the people of Gerald. “When you need meat or anything and you do not have enough money you cannot do anything because it is expensive to go to town just to buy one thing,” he said.
The just out mayor of Francistown James Kgalajwe said that the construction of the school in Gerald is undoubtedly their biggest achievement of the city council in this term moreso because it was never in the development plans. “It was an emergency for us and we went to the government with a list of projects that were a thorn on our side and we managed to get the school and that is a big achievement,” he said.
Children from Gerald Estates currently school at Montsamaisa and Gold Mine secondary school and it is a distance of about 8 or more kilometres to their homes.
In the past there has been an outcry of children misbehaving and others getting chased by strangers or raped because of the distance to their homes from the school.