ANC govt still failing to eradicate pit toilets – Nomsa Marchesi

DA MP says these hazardous toilets in schools are unacceptable after 24 years of democracy

ANC government still failing to eradicate pit toilets

6 June 2018

Today, DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Nomsa Marchesi MP, and DA KZN Spokesperson on Education, Dr Rishigen Viranna MPL, visited Mzwandile High School, Gagisa Primary School (now called KwaMlamuli Combined Primary School), and Huba High School in Richmond to discuss sanitation backlogs and the hazards of pit toilets.

The visits to these schools are a part of a series of such oversight visits.

Many learners across South Africa are forced to use pit toilets as they have not been provided with adequate alternatives by the ANC government.

It is unacceptable that after 24 years of democracy, many learners are forced to use these hazardous toilets. Not only are they unsanitary and undignified, they are life threatening.

Children have died in pit latrines, yet there still appears to be no plan by the government to prevent these deaths by building adequate and safe toilets.

Mzwandile High School is newly-built and does not yet have furniture and textbooks. However, at KwaMlamuli Combined Primary School, we saw how learners are subjected to the indignity and peril of using pit toilets. The classrooms there are also overcrowded, with over 60 learners in a single class.

The Department of Basic Education estimates that it will cost about R7.8 billion to eradicate pit toilets at schools across the country. This funding was available, however this is almost the same amount that the school infrastructure budget was recently cut by in the February 2018 budget.

The ANC government clearly cannot be trusted with our learners’ future when they are failing to meet the basic requirements of keeping children physically safe at schools.

The fact that the Department of Basic Education (DBE) failed to meet its own Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative targets for yet another year proves that the ANC is not serious about making schools safe.

Last year, the DBE failed to connect a single school, out of 620, to electricity. The department yesterday confirmed that, this year, only 70 schools out of 344 were provided with water, while 45 out of 257 were provided with sanitation.

In an economy that has contracted by 2.2%, it is vital that our children get a quality education in a safe and conducive environment that allows them to reach their potential and gives them the best chance of getting a job and contributing to building a better South Africa for all.

Under a DA government, learners will never be afraid to use a toilet. The DA will equip them with quality education and a conducive learning environment that will ensure that they have access to much-needed job opportunities and the bright futures they deserve.

Issued by Nomsa Marchesi, DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Basic Education, 6 June 2018