Johannesburg - Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says her department will embark on a rapid audit to figure out which schools do not have proper sanitation.
Motshekga said the extensive audit will be submitted to President Cyril Ramaphosa in three months’ time and will also include the cost for addressing the sanitation issue.
Ramaphosa called for an audit report of schools that still used pit toilets instead of proper sanitation following the death of five-year-old Lumka Mketwa who fell in a pit toilet at her school in the Eastern Cape.
In 2014 Michael Kompane also lost his life while using his school’s pit toilet in Limpopo. His parents are currently suing the government for his death.
Motshekga said it was not true that her department was not working on eradicating sanitation at schools. She said they have always had a plan, but the latest death of Mketwa has called for a different approach to the problem.
“We want to dispel that idea that we sit with pit toilets and we do not do anything about them, that is not true. We have a plan that informs our budget. This tragedy is forcing us to say let's review our plan and prioritise this,” said Motshekga, who was speaking at a media briefing following a high level ministerial meeting to address Ramaphosa’s request for an audit within three months.
Motshekga said provincial heads of department for education will work with her department’s director general to make sure that the audit numbers of existing pit latrines are correct.
The minister said rural schools were still an issue when it came to sanitation compared urban schools.
The Western Cape for example said it had no pit toilets and Gauteng said it had three, said Motshekga.
She said there would be an inquiry to look into the death of Mketwa that would ensure anyone responsible for her death is brought to book.