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DA: EC learners will suffer the indignity of pit latrines for next 36 years

Feb 17, 2020
DA: EC learners will suffer the indignity of pit latrines for next 36 years

East London - The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape says the "appalling" state of sanitation facilities at schools in the Eastern Cape shows "how little regard the Department of Education has for the learners under its care".

"The current implementation rate to address backlogs in eradicating pit latrines means that three generations of learners will never know the dignity of proper sanitation facilities," described Yusuf Cassim, DA Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for Education.

"Rather than taking drastic steps to eradicate the pit latrines at schools, Education MEC Fundile Gade would rather accuse parents of murdering their own children and dumping them at school facilities to claim compensation from the state."

He said last week, together with Désirée van der Walt, MP, the DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Basic Education, and other DA councillors, he visited a number of schools that have been earmarked as beneficiaries for the National Education Department’s Sanitation Appropriate for Education (SAFE) Initiative for the 2019/20 financial year.

"With a backlog of 1 598 schools in need of upgraded sanitation facilities in the province, and only 44 of the targeted 169 sanitation facilities completed in the last financial year, at the current rate of implementation it will take over 36 years to address the backlog," Cassim added.

"This financial year the targeted schools for SAFE projects in the Eastern Cape have increased to 262.

"The schools we visited included Emabaleni Combined School and Hoho Senior Secondary School in Dimbaza, Whiteville Primary School in Ngcamngani and Mceula Primary School in the Chris Hani District."

Cassim further said that the sanitation facilities at these schools are in a dismal state.

"Learners are forced to use pit latrine toilets with no doors or partition walls. The toilets are insufficient for the volume of learners, and in some cases are too big for younger learners, posing a real risk that they could fall into the latrines," he described.

"The conditions are extremely unhygienic and pose a very real health and safety risk to learners."

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