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'Millions spent building unsafe pit toilets at Lusikisiki school'

Feb 20, 2019
'Millions spent building unsafe pit toilets at Lusikisiki school'

Millions of rands have been spent on dangerous and substandard pit toilets at the Myolwa Senior Primary School in KwaNyathi village, Lusikisiki, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape alleged on Wednesday.


"The DA has already filed a complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) against the Eastern Cape Education Department for failing to provide adequate toilet facilities and sanitation, classrooms and resources for learners. Receipt of this letter has been acknowledged by the SAHRC," said DA Eastern Cape leader, Nqaba Bhanga, following an oversight visit to the school on Tuesday.

"Our oversight inspection brought to light that an investigation is very necessary, as the lives of children are being put in danger.

"The school has only four crumbling prefab classrooms and limited resources.

"We met with the principal and were informed that two grades have to share one classroom. To relieve the space issue and when weather allows, learners are being taught outside."

Bhanga said that the Department made R4.8 million available to construct buildings containing 23 pit toilets.

"Millions have already been spent on nine pit toilets that are too big and definitely unsafe for 5- and 6-year-olds at the school.

"The building that houses the nine new pit toilets is also a prime example of shoddy workmanship and the misuse of public funds," he added.

"An additional 14 pit toilets are now being dug.

"The older and even more dangerous pit toilets are extremely unhygienic. These toilets are apparently out of bounds, but it was very clear that they are being used."

DA has written to the SIU over millions spent on the pit toilets

Bhanga said that officials of the department were also on site and "I have given them one month to make sure that the project is completed and safe for use by small children".

"I have also written to the Special Investigation Unit (SIU), requesting an investigation into possible corruption and collusion regarding the spending of governmental money for this project," he said.

"Over 3 000 schools across South Africa still have nothing but pit latrines."

In March 2018, five-year-old Lumka Mketwa drowned in a pit toilet at Luna Primary School in Bizana in the Eastern Cape.

Shortly afterwards, in November 2018, a five-year-old girl narrowly escaped drowning in human waste when she fell into a pit toilet at the Dalibango Primary School in Centane.

"In response to a parliamentary question in March 2018, the EC Education Department said that there are still 3 088 schools in the Eastern Cape that have insufficient sanitation. This means that nearly 60% of schools and learners in the Eastern Cape are forced to make use of unhealthy sanitation facilities," Bhanga said.

"Nothing is more important for our children’s future – and the future of our country – than having a top-quality basic education. It is the key building block on the pathway to a good job."

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