WITH the 2021 academic year expected to commence later this month, questions over the state of sanitation in a number of schools across the country are mounting.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) demands answers on almost 4 000 schools that are still making use of pit latrines.
The party says it is appalling that learners and teachers are still subjected to the use of pit latrines despite the government having promised to eradicate them years ago.
In a parliamentary reply to the party, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says the SAFE programme (Sanitation Appropriate For Education) has been launched to address sanitation issues at 3 898 schools that were still making use of pit toilets and the programme is still underway.
“Of these 3898 schools, 427 have subsequently been closed mostly due to rationalisation, a further 725 of these schools have been assessed and the sanitation has been confirmed to be of an appropriate standard, though some of these sanitation facilities require some form of maintenance. The remaining 2 747 schools require intervention to eradicate the dependency on basic pit toilets,” she said.
Her statement comes just months after OFM News reported on how schools in the Free State, Eastern Cape and Limpopo are amongst those where there remains a high need for intervention.
The poor state of toilets in schools has since been under much scrutiny following the drowning of a 5-year-old boy, Michael Komape, in a pit latrine at his school in Limpopo in 2014.