Durban - The South African National Defence Force’s (SANDF) water purification plant at Hazelmere Dam has come in handy once again, this time providing drinking water to pupils of three schools in oThongathi.
The SANDF’s Lieutenant Phuti Badimo said that soldiers distributed 12 450 litres of drinking water to pupils of Sarasvati Primary School, Uthongathi Primary School and Nkosibomvu Secondary School earlier this month.
Badimo said the schools had been experiencing a shortage of water due to the recent floods of April, which have since affected the learning programme as they are now forced to shorten their time spent in the classroom to close the schools early.
“The water the SA National Defence Force is supplying is going to make a big difference. Firstly, the learners will have drinking water - we can not have learners on the premises with no water to drink; and secondly, we have a nutrition program, but it could not be sustained due to water shortages. The SA National Defence Force has impacted positively in this school as things can now run as usual,” said Sarasvati Primary School principal Joseph Zoko.
Nkosibomvu Secondary School deputy principal Theni Ntshangase said izandla zidlula ekhanda, an isiZulu idiom that conveys gratitude for an initiative.
Ntshangase also said that the water would be used to alleviate some of the problems the school has been experiencing.
Badimo added that irrespective of the ongoing difficulty, the footprint of Jojo water tanks is evident in all the schools for the harvest of water which is able to sustain the learners and staff. The local municipality, as well as non-governmental organisations provide assistance in refilling the Jojo tanks.
Uthongathi Primary School deputy principal Xolani Mthembu said that access to clean water and sanitation is vital in the learning environment.
He said: “Children can not learn in an institution where it is not conducive. We need to protect these children from probable infections and diseases. I applaud the SA National Defence Force - thank you for the assistance.”
Responding to Mthembu, Colonel Arthius Nyalungu, the Officer Commanding of Joint Operations Tactical Headquarters KZN and Commander of Operation Chariot, reminded the school pupils and staff that the SA National Defence Force exists to serve South Africans as they are the last line of defence in the country.