Roodepan - Parents of pupils at Pescodia High School in Roodepan have threatened to take to the streets after raw sewage continues to flood the school premises, posing a health risk to pupils.
Ricardo Abercrombie, the chairperson of the school’s governing body, said on Thursday that the sewage problem had been ongoing for more than three years, without any solution forthcoming from the Sol Plaatje Municipality or the Northern Cape Department of Education.
“The overflowing sewage is running past the office block at the school and is close to the hall,” Abercrombie said on Thursday.
He added that it was also close to the area from where the feeding scheme was operating. “This is a danger to the children as more than 800 to 850 children are fed as part of the feeding scheme.”
Abercrombie said that numerous attempts had been made over the years to find solutions from both the municipality and the Department of Education.
“According to the municipality, it is not their problem but something that must be sorted out by the Education Department. Last year, when the parents threatened to close the school because of this problem, officials from the department visited the school but nothing ever came from it and the problem is just a bad as ever before.”
Abercrombie pointed out that the parents were being left without any option but to mobilise and take to the streets. “No one is assisting us or coming to the party.”
He added that the contents of the toilets at the school were also “pushing up” as a result of the blocked sewerage pipes, posing further health risks.
The spokesperson for the Northern Cape Department of Education, Geoffrey van der Merwe, said on Thursday that the department was “aware of the unfortunate situation at Pescodia High School”.
“We are engaging the Sol Plaatje Municipality with regards to the matter as there is a blockage outside the school premises and, as a result, sewage overflows into the school’s premises.”
Van der Merwe added that as a long-term solution, the department was in the process of appointing a contractor to re-route the sewerage pipeline of the school, to prevent this from occurring again.
“It simply means that when blockages do occur, it will prevent an overflow of sewage into the school’s premises.”
Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson Sello Matsie said on Thursday that the municipality had identified a pipe in Spreeu Street that needed to be replaced. “Officials have been waiting for the approval of the 2019/20 budget so that this work can be undertaken.”
Matsie stated that in the short term, the municipality would send a team out today to assess the situation at the school.
“Often, however, the problem with overflowing sewage at schools in the area is due to the internal reticulation system, which is the responsibility of the Department of Public Works, as the owners of the property.
“We also have a problem, however, with residents throwing foreign objects into the sewerage system, which results in blockages. In some instances we have even removed car bumpers.”