THE DA in Limpopo welcomes the judgment passed down on the 17th of September in the case of Komape v Minister of Basic Education that compels the Limpopo Department of Education (LDOE) and the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to develop a comprehensive plan to urgently eradicate pit toilets at schools in Limpopo.
This comes after LDOE and DBE had failed to comply with a 2018 court order that directed them among other things to supply each school in Limpopo with safe and dignified toilets, to conduct a comprehensive audit of sanitation and provide a comprehensive plan for the installation of new toilets.
DA’s acting Limpopo spokesperson on education, Risham Maharaj said the party believes that a much more aggressive approach must be taken if the province is serious about eradicating pit latrines.
“The slow rate shown by the department in addressing this crisis means that some children in Limpopo will finish their schooling years without ever having experienced decent and appropriate sanitation facilities,” said Maharaj.
Maharaj said that in her 2019 budget speech, Education MEC Polly Boshielo made an empty promise to eradicate pit toilets. Boshielo stated: “In this financial year, the Department will eradicate pit latrines in all the 507 schools and replace them with proper sanitation facilities… There will be no talk of pit latrines in the next financial year.”
“This was in 2019! Since then, very little has been done in ensuring proper sanitation facilities in schools and pit toilets remain a reality for many of our learners. Limpopo has historical challenges of school infrastructure and infrastructure maintenance backlogs that would cost in excess of R20 billion to eradicate,” said Maharaj.
“MEC Polly Boshielo has a responsibility to prioritise and ensure all schools in Limpopo have a sufficient number of proper sanitation facilities in line with the Norms and Standards regulations. There should be no pit toilets allowed at schools.”
Maharaj added: “We have constantly raised the issue of inappropriate sanitation and the clearing of the infrastructure backlog over the years. It is time for the needs of learners and their dignity to be prioritised by the department.”
* Inside Education