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Creating Supportive Environments for Special Needs Children to Thrive

GVK-Siya Zama - leading specialists in the field of building, renovation, restoration and recycling of buildings - were selected to construct, renovate and upgrade three schools, one in Hluhluwe in KZN, the second in Kwadwesi in PE and the third in Uitenhage, all of which will directly impact and improve the lives of learners with special educational needs.

According to Dumisani Madi, group managing director of GVK-Siya Zama, the reason why GVK-Siya Zama were awarded the contract at Khulani Special School in Hluhluwe KwaZulu-Natal was because the company had the skills required to

successfully manage projects in rural conditions, with very little access to basic resources.

“There was always a requirement for a school in the region to accommodate learners with special needs. The community, together with local business, got together and raised funds to build, what was then an admin block and two classrooms,” says Madi.

The need to extend became obvious as the demand grew. With the involvement of the Department of Education, a decision was made to extend the school into a 5 000m² establishment with eight classroom blocks, a library, computer lab, dining hall and hostel facilities to accommodate 300 special needs children. The extension also included a new sports field and the relocation of an existing homestead and church building.

The scope of work further involved electrical and mechanical installations as well as construction of a self-sufficient sewer treatment plant. Additional civil constructions included parking areas and bus shelters.

The project, valued at R63 million, was completed in December 2013. “The children have since moved into the school and are thriving under the ideal conditions. I hope this is not the last of such projects in our country,” shares Madi.

In the Eastern Cape, the group is currently busy with two schools, namely, Khanyisa and Sunshine. The 17-month Khanyisa and 24-month Sunshine projects in the Eastern Cape are valued at R60.19 million and R81 million respectively.

“Khanyisa is a school situated in the heart of Kwadwesi that provides a haven for visually impaired kids,” says Madi. “The school is not only an educational institution but also provides accommodation in the form of hostels for learners. Sunshine is a brand new school for mentally challenged kids and will serve the Uitenhage and surrounding community. ”

The project at Khanyisa comprises the building of additional classrooms, a new dining hall and paved walkways along with the refurbishing and upgrading of existing dormitories. The Sunshine school project, on the other hand, requires building from scratch.

Khanyisa is being developed by the Independent Development Trust (IDT), while Sunshine is a project of the Department of Public Works. Both the Khanyisa and Sunshine schools are due for completion in early 2015.

GVK-Siya Zama, started in 1994, is a truly South African company that provides a fertile learning ground for many young South Africans to develop their skills in the construction industry. It is an established, medium-sized construction company with an annual turnover in excess of R1 billion. Siyazama is a Zulu phrase which means “we are trying”. These words have evolved into the company’s slogan: “Together we try”.
Visit their website at for more information.