DA lodges Human Rights Complaint following toddler’s pit toilet death

Issued by Baxolile 'Bax' Nodada MP – DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education
23 Apr 2024 in News

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

Yet another tragedy occurred in the Eastern Cape, when a three-year-old drowned in a pit toilet at his daycare centre in Mdantsane, East London recently. This unnecessary death has occurred as a result of government’s abject failure and laissez-faire approach to removing pit toilets.

The DA sends its heartfelt condolences to the family of Unecebo Mboteni and will continue to pursue justice for him and the many others before him.

Whilst the daycare centre is a private facility, it is funded by the Department and can only operate with an approval certificate from the local authority. Had the Department done its job properly, it would have ensured the pit toilet had been removed prior to awarding any certificate.

The Constitution of South Africa enshrines the right to life, dignity and protects the rights of all children, including basic services. Unfortunately, little Unecebo was a victim of the total failure of the Department to uphold these rights.

The Department has continuously been disingenuous when it comes to removing pit toilets in provinces such as KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and Limpopo. In a parliamentary question last year, the Department and Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, appeared to constantly shift the goalposts in terms of its target to removing pit toilets and became defensive when questioned why – instilling no confidence that the department ever intends to do away with these death traps.

Last year, the DA threatened action against the Minister after yet another pit toilet death, that time of Langalam Viki, of Queenstown, also in the Eastern Cape, whose death has seen no action to date. The recent loss of life is yet another grim confirmation that the ANC government simply do not care and highlights their manipulation of power for political gain.

The DA has now submitted a complaint to the Human Rights Commission against the Minister and Department of Basic Education, which will seek to have an order declared that they have violated the most basic human rights of our citizens. We also undertake to complete an oversight to this centre to ascertain the current conditions and dangers these children face. Justice for these horrific and preventable incidents are not negotiable