Pretoria - The Congress of South African Students (Cosas) in Limpopo has warned the provincial department of education to eradicate pit toilets in schools by the end of this year or it will take to the streets.
More than 3 000 schools across the country use pit latrines.
Speaking to the Pretoria News yesterday, Cosas provincial chairperson Douglas Ngobeni said: “It has been 28 years into democracy and we are still subjected to pit latrines, where in some instances children fall in and die. We are calling on the department to prioritise this matter and get rid of these toilets because they are also harmful to our learners.
“Our learners can’t focus anymore in that environment because, in some instances, the smell of those toilets pollutes the air and no human deserves that. So we are clear about our call to eradicate these pit toilets by the end of the year or we engage in a public protest.”
Provincial chairperson of the Public Servants Association John Teffo said: “To date, Limpopo has more than 500 pit toilets in schools. According to their plan, the department can only eradicate the outstanding pit toilets by 2030, which is not acceptable.”
He said the department had spent about R300 million in the past three years to get rid of pit toilets, but to no avail.
“We have been told the department is building one unit at a cost of R96 000, which is viewed as unwise for the department to have procured one unit for such an exorbitant price.”
Last week, judgment was reserved in a lengthy court battle by Section 27 and Equal Education to force the Department of Basic Education to eradicate pit toilets in the province.
A statement issued by the department last week read “The Department of Basic Education, together with provincial governments, has made great strides in efforts to replace pit latrines with appropriate sanitation facilities for schools in the country. The Sanitation Appropriate for Education Initiative was launched in August 2018 to accelerate the provision of sanitation facilities in the identified schools.
“The original number of schools which was reported by the provincial departments of education as schools dependent on basic pit toilets was 3 898.”