Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency(ANA)

RUSTENBURG - The DA has called on Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to take personal responsibility for the failure of her department to prevent the death of Michael Komape five years ago.

"The Democratic Alliance welcomes the recent Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) judgment in which it awarded damages of R1.4 million to the family of the five-year-old boy, Michael Komape, who drowned in a pit toilet at school five years ago.

"Whilst this judgment may bring some much-needed relief to the family, basic education minister Angie Motshekga must take personal responsibility for the failure of her department to prevent this tragedy," DA shadow minister of basic education Desiree van der Walt said on Thursday.

"It is especially disheartening that the family had to walk such a long and hard road. The education departments, both national and provincial, and minister Motshekga clearly didn't care enough and it is tragic that the family had to go to the courts to get justice.

"This heartbreaking case is a vivid reminder that there are many others who are still suffering because they have lost a child in a pit toilet accident," said Van der Walt.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that there were more than 4 000 pit toilets still in use in the country's schools, she said, adding that the department had been neglecting school infrastructure for so long that children were risking their lives trying to access a basic human right. 

The department should ring-fence funds needed to eradicate put toilets, she said. 

The SCA on Wednesday ordered the department to pay damages valued at R1.4 million to individual members of the remaining Komape family.

African News Agency (ANA)