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Kimberley - More than a thousand primary school learners at Pescodia Primary in Roodepan are facing possible health risk, after toilets at the school have been blocked for three weeks already.
To add to the growing crisis, the water supply to the entire Roodepan area has been intermittent for more than three months, with residents dubbing the suburb “the sewage hole”.
Parents and teachers called the DFA on Wednesday after they forwarded several complaints to the Sol Plaatje Municipality regarding the conditions of both the male and female toilets, which are blocked and foul-smelling, to no avail.
Besides being blocked, there is also no water at the school to flush the toilets.
A white sheet of paper, with the words “OUT OF ORDER” written with a red marker, has been placed on the entrance to the toilets, which means nothing to young Grade 1 learners, who need to use the facilities.
“We have even opened the gates of the school and asked the owners of nearby houses to accommodate the little ones,” one teacher said.
A cleaner at the school, who is also a parent, said that although every effort was made to keep the toilets clean, it is impossible because of the lack of water.
“The toilets are disgusting, but at the same time we have young children and they cannot be expected to hold it in for the whole day.”
She said that two of the children had developed infections from using the toilets. “One of the little ones developed a severe rash and was booked off for a week. The mother blamed the school and said we had put her child’s health at risk.”
A group of learners said they were often forced to relieve themselves in the veld. “Sometimes we even go behind the classrooms when no-one is watching. It is better than using these blocked toilets.”
The school is not the only casualty of blocked drains and a lack of water, with the entire suburb suffering the same fate as burst water pipes - necessitating the switching off of the water supply - have become an almost daily occurrence.
“Often the municipality fixes one pipe, just to have it burst a few metres further down the road. Even the newly-installed plastic pipes keep developing leaks. This has become a major crisis,” one resident said.
Among the streets affected are Eagle, Dove, Hanekom and Finch. At the end of Eagle Street, a massive pool has formed following a leak in the newly installed blue plastic pipe.
“It appears as if the municipality’s waterworks department was working on the pipe and then they just left, leaving a massive open hole, which has now filled up with water.” Residents pointed out that this posed a serious danger to motorists and children in the area.
Spokesman for Sol Plaatje Municipality, Sello Matsie, on Wednesday said there was a temporary interruption of water in that area because of a pipe burst close to the Pescodia Primary School.
“Waterworks was sent to unblocked the toilets and drains at the school.”
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