The Department of Basic Education (DBE) confirmed last week in the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education that there are currently 3 532 Pit Toilets at schools across the country.
After 24 years of democracy, it is appalling that children are still subjected to pit toilets which put their lives at risk.
The DBE estimated that it will cost about R7.8 billion to address the sanitation backlog all schools. Shockingly, the budget for school infrastructure has been cut by R3.6 billion – when this amount could have met nearly half this need.
Pit toilets are not only hazardous to the health of learners, but they can also be deadly. The deaths of Michael Komape and Lumka Mketwa could have been avoided if they had access to decent sanitation.
The DA welcomes the instruction by the High Court in Limpopo today that the province’s education department present a plan on supplying safe toilets in rural schools in Limpopo by 30 July 2018.
South Africans can still co-sign our letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa, calling for an urgent interdepartmental response to unsafe schools at https://protectourchildren.co.za
The DA will visit schools across the country that still use these hazardous pit toilets and see what can be done to ensure that no learner ever has to be afraid to use a bathroom.
The safety of our learners must be of the highest priority. If the national government cannot get something as fundamental as delivering safe and secure toilets right, then we still have a long way to go in attaining safe schools.