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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Darling gets its very first high school!

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The West Coast town of Darling is finally receiving its very own high school. Despite the town being founded way back in 1853, learners from the Darling Primary School formerly had to rely on high schools in neighbouring towns.

 

Commuting to places such as Atlantis, Malmesbury and Moorreesburg, prompted enormous additional logistical challenges regarding school transport and safety issues.

 

Based on 2016 statistics, the small town has an estimated population of 12 370 residents, while the area size is 9.288km².

 

darling swartland
Image supplied

 

The Swartland Local Municipality — which has been calling for this for nearly a decade — says the school will open for grades 8 and 9 learners in 2025.

 

NEARLY A DECADE IN THE MAKING

 

Spokesperson Mart-Marie Haasbroek says the long-awaited construction has finally commenced:

 

 

“The start of construction for the new high school follows an almost ten-year process of dogged persistence by the Swartland Municipality Administration and Councillors to highlight and press upon authorities the dire need of a high school for the town of Darling. The Swartland Municipality already identified the need for a high school for Darling during the 2014/15 Integrated Development Plan.”

 

 

darling swartland
Image by Lizell Persens

 

 

In 2018 the Western Cape Provincial Treasury allocated a R70 million budget to the project, but the process suffered multiple delays. Building plans for the facility were eventually approved in September 2023.

 

PHASE 1 OF CONSTRUCTION

 

darling high school
The approved building plans. Image supplied

 

“The project faced another significant stumbling block at the end of 2023, due to the massive budget cuts imposed by the National Government affecting all budgeted for projects, including priority projects like the Darling High School. Swartland Municipality however again met with the Western Cape Department of Education on 15 November 2023 and at the end of January 2024 and the Department agreed to start construction of the new school immediately. The first phase of this project will include the construction of 10 classrooms,” adds Haasbroek.

 

 

Executive mayor Harold Cleophas says he is elated:

 

“We are incredibly happy and relieved for this new high school. It will bring renewed hope to our Darling residents who will no longer have to face the prospect of sending their children away to other towns for an education. Our sincere gratitude goes out to the ward councillors as well as the administration of Swartland Municipality who persisted and worked to make this dream a reality.”

 

READ MORE: WCED fighting to place learners in schools following ”extremely late” applications

 

 

 

 

 

Lizell Persens
Lizell Persens
Lizell is a Cape Town-based news anchor, reporter and transcriptionist. She has been a journalist for the past 10 years, and started her career as a TV producer. The avid reader enjoys writing poems, fast cars, music, travelling, and exploring new food.

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