Pit toilets: Willows Primary School learners forced to risk lives daily

Issued by Nomsa Marchesi MP – DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Basic Education
08 Aug 2018 in News

The statement below follows an oversight visit by DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Nomsa Marchesi MP, and local councillor, Dave McKay. Please find the attached soundbites in isiXhosa, Sesotho and English by Nomsa Marchesi MP. Pictures are attached here, here, here and here.

Today, DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Nomsa Marchesi MP, and local councillor, Dave McKay, visited Willows Primary School to discuss the impact of sanitation backlogs on learners at the school.

At Willows Primary we found that learners were collecting water using buckets every day as the school is not connected to running water. Learners are also forced to make use of unsafe and unhygienic pit toilets, none of which are age appropriate and put learners at risk of falling in and drowning.

Every day, learners at many schools across South Africa put their lives at risk whenever they use pit latrines. The Department of Basic Education (DBE) estimates that there are between 4,100 and 8,700 schools with pit toilets in the country. However, they have no real idea how many schools in South Africa have pit toilets and keep providing different numbers.

The DBE is seemingly indifferent to the risk this poses to tens of thousands of children.

Earlier this year, the Department admitted that it had once again failed to meet all its Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI) targets. It managed to provide only 45 schools with sanitation out of a target of 257 last year. Only 70 out of 344 were connected to water in the same year.

It is unfair that children at Willows Primary (and many other schools) are forced to pay for government’s ineptitude, and are being deprived of their rights to receive quality basic education in a safe environment.

The DA will continue to highlight the plight of the many learners who have been robbed of their dignity by the ANC government.

Our learners must no longer be subjected to environments that are hazardous to their health and South Africans can help bring this to an end by voting for the DA in the 2019 national elections.