#EndSchoolPitToilets: North West DBE must pull up its socks

Issued by Baxolile 'Bax' Nodada MP – DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education
28 Jul 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached video by Baxolile ‘Bax’ Nodada MP.

Yesterday, the DA continued with our #EndSchoolPitToilets campaign with oversights to three schools in the North West.

Mahobotle Primary School in Moretele was built in 1971 and has 876 learners from grade R to grade 7 who are fully reliant on pit toilets. Despite the school’s reliable water source, the North West Department of Basic Education (DBE) has never included it in any pit toilets eradication programmes or budgets. In fact, Mahobotle is not even on the Department’s list of identified schools that only has pit toilets.   (See photos here, here and here)

The school governing body (SGB) and school management team have tried to address the sanitation situation by building some pit toilets in 2010, which the learners and staff have to use to this day.

Mahobotle must be prioritised as part of the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI) or Sanitation Appropriate for Education (SAFE) Initiatives, to make sure that none of these learners are subjected to further indignity.

Overcrowding is also a massive issue with no less than 50 children per classroom.

Despite the flush toilets that were installed at Lepono Primary School, its 302 learners and 23 staff members are forced to rely on 12 pit toilets as the Moretele Local Municipality’s failure to provide basic services has resulted in sporadic water supply.  (See photos here, here, and here)

Ideally, a borehole should be installed to ensure a reliable water supply for the school. Once that has been completed, the deadly pits should be eradicated.

The Department’s failure to keep its promise to provide every school with a kitchen, has forced Lepono to convert a classroom into a makeshift kitchen to provide learners with meals.

At Rantebeng 11 Primary School 320 learners are exposed to very dangerous and unsanitary pit toilets, with three latrines for grade R learners and six for learners in grade 1 to grade 7. The staff component of 16 make use of two flush toilets. ( See photos here, and here )

To add insult to injury, the flush toilets that were built in 2018 cannot be used because they were not installed correctly. It is shocking that there has been no intervention from the Department for the past 5 years. Learners at a school with a reliable water supply and flush toilets should not be forced to used dangerous pit toilets.

Today the DA will end this portion of the #EndSchoolPitToilets campaign in KwaZulu-Natal (please see details below).

Since May this year, the DA has done oversight at 65 schools at part of our #EndSchoolPitToilets campaign. We’ve visited 24 schools in Limpopo, 21 in KZN, 15 in the Eastern Cape, and 5 in North West.

Of the schools visited, only 5 did not have any pit toilets. 53.8% (35 schools) had a water source close to the toilets where learners can wash their hands.

Only 18 schools (27.7%) indicated that the Department had contacted them regarding the eradication of the pit toilets.

It is clear that much more needs to be done to ensure that all learners have access to safe and dignified school environments. The DA will continue with oversights in the provinces and will not stop driving the issue until every last pit toilet at schools have been eradicated.

The media is welcome to join our oversights. The dates are as follows:

Dates  Province   Area   Schools  
28 July Pit toilet oversight KZN iLembe Ensikeni Primary School

Prospect Farm Primary School

Matamzana-Dube Secondary School