Pupils, teachers suffer lack of toilets

2012-11-19 00:00

PUPILS and teachers at Merlewood Secondary School near Port Shepstone find themselves competing for toilets during breaks because the school has had insufficient toilets for almost a year.

And when they do get into a stall, chances are that the toilet won’t flush properly.

According to sources at the school, who would not be named as they are not allowed to speak to the media, there are 35 teachers — male and female — sharing three toilets.

But the plight of the pupils is far worse, as there are in excess of 500 girls sharing four toilets. And they a 40-minute lunch break in which to use the facilities.

“The toilets have not had a proper supply of water since the beginning of this year, when the water was cut off,” said one source.

Cleaners were instructed to place bins in the toilets and fill them with rain water from a tank — and this is how the toilets have been operating this year.

“The water is infested with insects and is usually depleted by 10 am.

“Teachers are then left with no water to use in the toilets — which eventualy leads to the most unsanitary conditions, as the toilets cannot be flushed,” the source said.

Teachers who live close to the school go home to use the toilet during their breaks, while those living further away and unable to go home say the situation has caused them to develop urinary tract infections.

A source, who is a teacher at the school, said the situation has also caused teachers to take days off.

Principal Johannes Venter declined to comment on the matter, saying he was not allowed to and referred the matter to the Education Department.

Department spokesperson Sihle Mlotshwa said portable toilets will be arranged as an interim measure to alleviate the problem.

“The difficulty is that the school is built on different levels.

“The toilets which are at the upper or higher ground levels are problematic in that there is insufficient water pressure in the municipal supply to pump water to these toilets,” he said.

“The matter has been referred to the Public Works Department for their intervention.

“The matter was also referred to the Ugu District Municipality to assist with the low water pressure in the area,” added Mlotshwa.

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