Eastern Cape Grade R and 1 pupils relieve themselves in snake-infested bushes

Eastern Cape Grade R and 1 pupils relieve themselves in snake-infested bushes

The DA’s Shadow MEC of Education, Yusuf Calim said during a recent National Council of Provinces (NCOP) oversight inspection at Lundini Primary School in the OR Tambo District, it was discovered that the school only has six pit latrines, three for girls and three for boys.

The facilities are said to be used by both learners and teachers alike, but the latrine seats are too large for the youngest learners in Grade R and Grade 1 to use.

“These small, vulnerable children are instead forced to relieve themselves outdoors, with the girls making use of a nearby tree and the boys being forced to use an open patch of grass where the SGB chairperson informed me that they had recently discovered a black mamba.”

Yusuf Calim

Calim said the oversized pit latrines pose a fatal risk to the lives of younger learners. Five-year-old Lumka Mkhetwa lost her life falling into a pit latrine at Luna Primary School in Bizana, Eastern Cape.

“This reality is a direct violation of their human rights and dignity. The inability of the Department of Education and the ANC government to rectify this long-standing travesty is unacceptable,” he added.

EC STATS FOR SANITATION FACILITIES

According to the DA in the Eastern Cape, there are currently 1 598 schools in the province with inappropriate and unsafe sanitation, including pit latrines.

The party said eradication of these death traps has been pitiful, only 33 schools were provided with sanitation facilities in the 2019/20 financial year, and just 18 schools were assisted in the 2020/21 financial year.

“It is sickening to think that the Eastern Cape Education Department has forfeited over R200 million of its Education Infrastructure Grant funding back to National Treasury due to its inability to spend the money while our most vulnerable children are forced into the bushes to relieve themselves.

“It appears that the Premier is too preoccupied with his campaign for re-election as the ANC provincial chairperson to appreciate the daily reality our children are facing. Our children should not have to choose between death trap toilets or snake-infested bushes to relieve themselves while seeking an education!”

Yusuf Calim

»Eastern Cape Grade R and 1 pupils relieve themselves in snake-infested bushes«

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