Limpopo extends pit toilet deadline

2014-02-09 17:01
The pit toilet into which Michael Komape fell and died. (File, Beeld)

The pit toilet into which Michael Komape fell and died. (File, Beeld)

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Polokwane - The Limpopo education department has extended its deadline to eradicate pit and bucket toilets at schools.

Department spokesperson Phuti Seloba told African Eye News Service (AENS) that the department had initially budgeted R997m in the 2012/2013 financial year to eradicate the bucket and pit toilets at 868 schools by March 2014, but the deadline has now been extended to the end of 2014.

“The project is complex and has taken more time than we thought. I can put my head on the block and say that all the outstanding toilets will be delivered before the end of 2014. We just need our people to be patient with us,” said Seloba.

He said that, so far, R700m had been spent eradicating pit and bucket toilets at over 600 schools.

Contractor 'credible'
 
“Our contractor, Mvula Trust, is credible and working day and night to make sure that we deliver the toilets as promised by MEC Dikeledi Magadzi in her 2012/2013 budget speech. Come the end of 2014, there will be no school with pit or bucket toilet in Limpopo,” Seloba.

Seloba said the department is fully co-operating with the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) which is currently investigating sanitation at schools across Limpopo after a Grade R pupil fell into a pit toilet and died few weeks ago at Mahlodimela Primary School, in Chedeng village near Polokwane.

“It was unfortunate that a child had to die in a pit toilet at school, but never and never again will we see such thing in this province.

"Yes, we are co-operating with the SAHRC on that case and we have since installed mobile toilets at that school while we are in the process of building proper toilets,” Seloba said.

SAHRC spokesperson Isaac Mangena confirmed the SAHRC is investigating the problem of sanitation at all Limpopo schools after the death of the child.

“Our investigation is still in the early stages and we are currently engaging the department and have instructed them to conduct an audit to ensure that all schools using pit or bucket toilets get temporary toilets,” said Mangena.

Promises

Democratic Alliance leader in Limpopo Jacques Smalle noted that it's not the first time the education department has missed the deadline for eradicating pit and bucket toilets.

“They have been making the same promises for three years, and have not delivered.

In 2011/2012, R941m was allocated for the same purpose, but despite this huge sum of money, many learners are still using pit toilets. Given this track record, we do not believe the department will be able to reach its delivery target by this year,” said Smalle.

“And unfortunately this failure to deliver is placing the lives and health of our children at risk. The tragic death of a Grade R pupil underscores how urgently we need to tackle this problem.”

Read more on:    polokwane  |  education
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