The Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga. Picture: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS

Cape Town - Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on Tuesday said her department has prioritised the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal, and Limpopo to eradicate pit latrines over the next three years.

“We have a programme which we call SAFE [Sanitation appropriate for education], we have priotised for provinces that have more challenges. We have prioritised Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal, and Limpopo, which does not mean we won’t do work in Mpumalanga, the Free State, North West. Northern Cape has been able to clear it off on their own, Gauteng is able to look after themselves and the Western Cape has promised that they will be able to eradicate on their own,” said Motshekga during a pre-budget vote media briefing in Parliament, ahead of her department’s budget vote speech on Tuesday afternoon.

For the 2019/20 financial year, R700 million has been allocated, for 2020/21, R800 million and R1,3 billion for 2021/22 for completely clearing inappropriate sanitation in schools throughout the country, according to Basic Education director-general, Mathanzima Mweli.

Motshekga said the department could be able to reach its target of clearing out all the “improper sanitation” in less than three years if the department moved at its current pace but that the budget was allocated for three years.

“So on SAFE, our last count was around 3 884 (pit latrines) and what we did is sending teams to provinces (to verify) because that the information that we’ve collected from provinces. So we had to verify it and go to provinces. In some instances, we found that it’s not the absence of sanitation but it’s poor maintenance, in some instances we found that provinces had not included some of the schools in their count,” she said.

“So we are verifying that information and it’s still hovering around the 3 800. After the president launched the SAFE initiative, between the provinces and the private sector we were able to deliver sanitation to more than a 1 000 schools, which was money we fund-raised outside government,” added Motshekga.

African News Agency (ANA)