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Section 27 Threatens Limpopo Department of Education With Court Action Over Lack Of Sanitation At Kharivha Primary School

SECTION 27 is preparing to take Limpopo Department of Education to court over poor sanitation at the Kharivha Primary School in Venda.

Section 27 is representing the School Governing Body (SGB) of Kharivha Primary School in Ndovhada village in Limpopo, a school which is nowhere near ready to be reopened safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the school, learners and staff were forced to use unlawful pit toilets which have subsequently been demolished.

The school lacks running water on the school property, and SGB members told SECTION27 that only six disposable masks were delivered for the school’s staff and that the school only received seven 1 litre bottles of sanitizers for approximately 95 learners.

Section 27 spokesperson Julia Chaskalson confirmed in a statement that the civil society organization has written to the Department of Basic Education well as the Limpopo Department of Education (LDOE) about its concerns about the school’s readiness twice, and received no response.

The organization is demanding that a water tank, portable toilets and other necessaries be delivered to the school before it opened on June 8, failing which Section 27 will go to court to ensure that the government complied with its undertakings to ensure the safety of the schooling community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 “We have been campaigning for lawful sanitation in schools for five years and counting, since the tragic and undignified death by drowning in a collapsed pit toilet of 5 year old Michael Komape. We had hoped that the DBE would fulfil its promises to deliver safe and decent sanitation given the urgency during the COVID-19 Pandemic. We hope it still does to avoid future litigation,” said Chaskalson.

Chaskalson said the school has no portable toilets, water tanks or masks for learners.

“The DBE [Department of Basic Education] has set out the safety preconditions for the reopening of schools during the COVID-19 disaster in its Standard Operating Procedures for the Prevention, Containment and Management of COVID-19 in Schools and School Communities (SOPs),” said Chaskalson.

“Key pillars of the safety procedures therein are adequate sanitation infrastructure (including safe toilets, clean and reliable water supply and sanitiser facilities), personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing measures, adequate orientation and screening for COVID-19. The SOPs note that these key pillars must be adhered to.”

(Compiled by Inside Education staff)

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