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Monday, November 29, 2021

Judgment Reserved In Limpopo Pit Toilet Case Between Section 27 and Department of Basic Education

THE judgment in the matter between Section 27 and the Department of Basic Education has been reserved.

The date of the judgment is expected to be announced by Judge Gerrit Mueller soon.

SECTION27 is asking the court to rule that the DBE’s and the Limpopo Department of Education’s “plan” to abolish pit toilets is unconstitutional.

Section 27 challenged the Limpopo Department of Education at the Polokwane High Court on Friday over its plan to completely eradicate pit toilets.

The civil society group says that the department has underspent on infrastructure at schools.

The state argued that it could only achieve the eradication of pit toilets at schools by March 2031.

“The judge’s office will be in touch with us to let us know when they will deliver judgement. We will certainly follow up because this case has been pending for seven years and we would like to see a final conclusion,” said Section 27.

“We have done research into the annual report of the DBE themselves, and they have said that they are underspending on their infrastructure budget.”

The case was prompted by the death of five-year-old Michael Komape who died after falling into a pit latrine at school in 2014 in Limpopo.

His father, James Komape believes they have presented a compelling case against the state.

“Today’s case went well. I am confident that Judge Mueller will rule in our favour and infrastructure will be taken to schools. There is still a lot of schools in areas like Ga-Mashashane and in Moletji that still have pit toilets,” said James Komape on Friday.

Section 27 has also asked the court to appoint an independent sanitation task team to look into the matter.

In 2018 the court ordered that the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and the Limpopo Department of Education (LDoE) must file plans to eradicate pit toilets and provide the court with an updated audit of sanitation needs at schools in the province.

Thousands of children in South Africa attend schools with filthy, dangerous toilets.

A reliable report in January said 37 Eastern Cape schools had no toilets at all, 1945 had plain pit latrines and 2585 had ventilated pit latrines.

  • Inside Education
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