Activist’s plea to GNU: Make education number one priority and eliminate pit latrines

Girl learners in uniform queuing at mobile toilets. File Picture: Tumi Pakkies/Independent Media

Girl learners in uniform queuing at mobile toilets. File Picture: Tumi Pakkies/Independent Media

Published Jun 18, 2024


The government of national unity being formulated to run the seventh administration of South Africa, following the May 29 elections, must maintain education as an apex priority.

Education activist Hendrick Makaneta said additionally, the government of national unity should also prioritise the fight against crime, as a matter of urgency.

“Some of our communities are no longer safe for citizens, and the growing levels of crime often spill into schools that are based in these communities,” said Makaneta.

“As activists in the terrain of education, we call upon our government to put up relevant measures to ensure that schools are safe havens which can be used effectively by learners as they (pursue) the most difficult struggle to create a future for themselves.”

Makaneta said one way of reducing crime bedevilling South African communities is by re-skilling the youth.

Education activist, Hendrick Makaneta. File Picture: Supplied

“Many of our youth are unskilled and can be easily targeted by gangs who recruit them into the life of crime. If the government can focus on skilling and re-skilling our youth, particularly those in townships and rural areas, the move will certainly reduce unemployment and also lead to safer communities,” he said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to inaugurated at the Union Buildings on Wednesday, to lead a government of national unity after the African National Congress lost the majority is has held since 1994.

The Union Buildings in Pretoria - the citadel of the South African government. File Picture: Oupa Mokoena/Independent Media

The activist highlighted that there is no doubt that South Africa’s education system also needs an overhaul to ensure that it can respond to the challenges presented by the fast-changing world of work.

“We need more and more schools to be equipped with facilities that are empowering and enriching to the learners. South Africa is moving at a snail's pace when it comes to teaching relevant subjects that can propel our learners towards innovation,” said Makaneta.

“The issue of pit latrines continues to be a time bomb that can explode and take lives of innocent children, particularly in rural areas. We call on the government of national unity to tackle this issue without delay and ensure that pit latrines become a thing of the past in South Africa.”

A pupil holding a toilet door for a classmate to give her some privacy. File Picture

Makaneta said the government of national unity should also examine the troubled National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) with a view to bring about lasting solutions to the many challenges faced by students from working class background.

The activist expressed well wishes to the incoming cabinet which is yet to be announced by Ramaphosa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa gestures at leader of the Democratic Alliance, John Steenhuisen. File Picture: Baba Jiyane/GCIS

Last week, IOL reported that Ramaphosa was re-elected for a second term after his weakened ANC lost its outright majority. The re-election came on the back of the Democratic Alliance confirming the formation of the government of national unity.