As part of celebrating Nelson Mandela's 94th birthday, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga officially unveiled the renovated school, which formed part of the department's school infrastructure projects included in the '94+ Projects for Madiba' initiative, launched by Motshekga in April 2012.
Ferrero South Africa Social Enterprise funded the renovations at the school following an agreement and close collaboration with the Basic Education Department.
The project included the full renovation of the school, and equipping the school with ramps and disabled toilet facilities for children in wheelchairs.
The project has seen over 100 department officials, the Ferrero Social Enterprise team, builders, tilers, painters and other subcontractors working tirelessly, seven days a week, over the last three months to complete the project on time.
Speaking at the event, which was also attended by Gauteng MEC for Education, Barbara Creecy and Italian Ambassador to South Africa, Vincenzo Schioppa, Motshekga thanked Ferrero for heeding the call and embracing the 94+ Projects for Madiba.
She added that since its formal launch, the project had enjoyed the overwhelming support of private and public partners, and work had begun with refurbishments being carried out ahead of 18 July, which is Madiba's birthday.
"The 94+ projects for Madiba build on our growing partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation to mobilise teachers, parents and broader society in support of education. The Ferrero-sponsored Japie Greyling School bears testimony to great work being possible when people are united by a shared vision of reconstruction and development.
"We have identified the renovation of school buildings, installation of water and sanitation facilities, construction of admin blocks, fencing, school furniture and the provision of kitchen units as priorities for schools."
Motshekga further acknowledged one of the department's branches for contributing R3 000 from their own pockets to paint the admin block.
Ferrero Social Enterprises Vice-Secretary General Osvaldo Lingua said that to honour Madiba's 94th anniversary, the company had chosen the language they believe Madiba likes best and which goes straight to his heart, a language characterised by 'concrete deeds' rather than by mere words.
"Ferrero South Africa Social Enterprise is very proud to be a partner in this inspirational initiative which aims to enhance teaching and learning environments. Just three months ago, we had mixed feelings about the possibility of completely renovating the school in time for the Madiba's birthday.
"On one hand, we were very glad to take up this challenge, since it was perfectly in line with the mandate of the social initiatives, which is aimed at benefitting children of the communities where the Ferrero Social Enterprises already operate -- particularly in the education and health sectors.
"With all such limitations and constraints, and taking into account the sheer size of the school, it looked almost a mission impossible from the onset. Yet, we had on our side a very powerful asset: the strong enthusiasm of all stakeholders involved, who contributed with their support and determination to finalise the project on schedule," said Lingua.
The school has been fitted with a new energy efficient, low maintenance, environmentally friendly, cost and energy effective solar electric heating system in all the classrooms, which heats up the classrooms electrically for the first two hours of the day, and thereafter, the naturally heated air in the roof voids is blown into the classrooms by fans. These fans are solar powered and can be used also to cool the classrooms in summer.
Newly appointed school principal, Piet du Toit, said the school was not just renovated but felt like a completely new school.
"It's a new life, they've made a school into a new service school, as it's got facilities for people with disabilities. Thank you is not good enough (sic)," said an ecstatic du Toit.
Creecy said that through the project, 60 schools out of 1 800 provincial schools in need of renovations were being renovated.
"We've been inspired by the work done at the school. They've taken a sound structure and given it a face lift. This renovation will give us an opportunity to increase the number of learners in the school."