File Photo: Dumisani Dube

The Western Cape Department of Education has revealed in a report that no schools in the province have pit toilets.

This follows an emergency request by the Council of Education Minister (CEM) on the status of ablution and sanitation facilities at schools across South Africa.

Democratic Alliance (DA) spokesperson on education Basil Kivedo said: “It is pleasing to note that all schools across the province are equipped with ablution facilities that comply with the WCED Norms and Standards for Ablutions, as well as the National Building Regulations for Ablution. 

“This is a clear demonstration of the DA’s commitment to not only ensuring that learners have access to dignified ablution facilities, but that pit toilets are completely eradicated.”

Kivedo said it’s become way too common that learners in African National Congress-led provinces, were either being injured and even dying due to inhumane ablution facilities at their schools. 

He recalled the incident in which five-year-old Lumka Mthetha recently fell into a pit latrine at her school in the Eastern Cape and died. This incident brought to light the severe problem faced by many schools across the country.

“For President Cyril Ramaphosa to act after this incident is reactionary. This unfortunate incident could have been avoided had government adhered to the principles and tenets enshrined in the Constitution, by not doing this, re-iterates National Government's blatant disregard for the plight of the poor.

“The WCED has informed me that they have plans to provide additional ablutions facilities to the following schools due to increase in learner growth, namely, Bridgeville PS, Elandsfontein PS, Naastdrif NGK PS and New Eisleben HS,” said Kivedo  

Kivedo said of all the schools that were earmarked and identified with ablutions shortages in 2014, all these projects were completed at the end of 2016/17 financial year. The WCED has also earmarked plans to do maintenance at 54 schools this financial year, which also includes the renovation of ablution facilities.

“I commend Minister Debbie Schafer and the WCED for being proactive in not only addressing the ablution needs at schools, but also other maintenance issues. The DA in the Western Cape believes that only quality education, which includes access to dignified ablution facilities, will allow us to deliver on our vision of opportunities for all,” said Kivedo.

African News Agency (ANA)