EE shocked at pupil’s pit toilet death

2014-01-23 12:16

Johannesburg - Equal Education expressed shock and sadness on Thursday at the death of a Grade R pupil who fell into a pit toilet and died.

"Equal Education is shocked and deeply saddened by the untimely and avoidable death of a Grade R learner from Mahlodimela primary school, who was found in a pit latrine at his school in Chedeng village," Equal Education chairperson Yoliswa Dwane said in statement.

"This tragic incident demonstrates the health and safety dangers of pit latrines and emphasises the urgent need to address school infrastructure, particularly in rural areas where the poorest and most under-resourced schools are in the majority."

Michael Komape, 6, died when he fell into a pit toilet at his school on Monday.

Dwane said the 2011 National Education Infrastructure Management System Report showed that most schools across the country continued to exist without adequate sanitation.

"Of the 24 793 public ordinary schools, 11 450 schools are still using pit latrine toilets and 2 402 schools have no water supply, while a further 2 611 schools have an unreliable water supply."

Dwane said after more than three years of campaigning by Equal Education, the legally binding regulations for minimum norms and standards for school infrastructure were adopted by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga in November 2013.

"The regulations say all schools must have sanitation facilities that are easily accessible to all learners and must provide privacy and security, promote health and hygiene standards and be maintained in good working order."

Dwane said Equal Education called on all provincial education departments to eradicate all pit latrines in schools immediately and implement the regulations for norms and standards for school infrastructure.

On Wednesday the SA Human Rights Commission said it would investigate sanitation in schools across the Limpopo province.

"The commission has decided to launch an own-initiative investigation around this matter," spokesperson Isaac Mangena said in a statement.

The commission said it was aware of many other schools in the province that still used pit toilets.

  • Owen Dell - 2014-01-23 12:37

    Poor little child, God bless him !! And may our Lord bring a swift end to the evil , corrupt , self enriching pigs that are running our country !!!!

      Konstabel Koekemoer - 2014-01-23 14:33

      Another death that can be directly blamed on the ANC governments inability to deliver. The government is filled with some of the most disgusting individuals ever who only care about enriching themselves and care absolutely nothing about the people they are meant to serve. It 's time to get rid of Zuma and his rotten allies as they are killing people through their neglegence and corruption.

  • Tony Muchamama - 2014-01-23 12:39

    if your palace was built of public funds and worth double century of millions of must destroy it and use the scrape to go and erect a better toilet right there...right now///

  • Paul Haines - 2014-01-23 12:44

    Thank you Angie... your crowing about increased "pass" rates seems so foolish when going to the toilet in one of your schools is a life threatening act. What an unimaginably ghastly death. ...and it is on your hands Angie. Own up to the expected norms before anything like this is ever allowed to happen again.

  • SunshinyDay - 2014-01-23 13:18

    It's useless complaining on these boards. The ANC aren't going to read them and if they do, they don't care. Why should they be kept up at night on their fancy beds in their fancy houses about kids they don't know dying and suffering from illness from unhygenic schools?

  • Lorna Murdoch-Eaton - 2014-01-23 13:25

    Poor little kid. What a horrible way to die. In my area there have been at least four quite well equipped farm schools closed by the government for no apparent reason. The kids have to go by taxi's a considerable distance to much larger schools where the individual attention is minimal and the facilities are under great strain by the numbers of people using them. Why these closures happened has left the community baffled. They had good passes and a MUCH better education than the school they're at now. Education in SA is like the health department and also the justice system... all in shambles.

      Jonathan Woods - 2014-01-23 14:27

      This has happened in many cases, simply because the teaching staff at these schools are not union members or "not qualified" by the "right" authority. But what they did have were dedicated people doing their best for their communities and in many cases as you say Lorna to a far higher standard than the "government approved" hell holes! I recall a case last year where the principle of a small rural school in the berg was apologetic, when he spoke to the media who were there to praise the school's success, because they had failed to get 100% pass rate. And he promised to try harder and put more effort for the new year to get back to the 100% pass rate that they aimed for! I would not be in the least surprised if his school is also closed! On the one hand we have wonderful stories like this, while on the other hand we have the minister refusing to commit to signing off the basic standards agreement for all schools until she was forced to do so via an order of the court. We desperately need a change to this group of pigs that we currently are forced to endure!

  • Martin Fourie - 2014-01-23 13:31

    I am sick of hearing depts. being saddened, shocked and outraged. The current situation is your responsibility, this happened on your watch. Now, another investigation, the SA Human Rights Commission and the Minister Of Education don't know which schools have or don't have sanitation. So I say, don't be shocked and saddened, stand up and say "this is my fault, it should have been me that fell into and died in that pit".

  • Jammies Jamneck - 2014-01-23 13:32

    Little Micheal did not have an equal educational chance...Rip little man....

  • Edmund van Wyk - 2014-01-23 14:06

    You wil never find something like that in the Westren Cape Prov. Where the DA rules because we care that is why all the people come to live in WC a better place for all DA forever shame on you ANC shame

  • Ding Bat - 2014-01-23 14:10

    Why is the EE shocked. Are they not aware of the conditions of some of the rural schools. To come now and express "shock" is seeking attention for a rather lame toothless body like the EE.

  • Margaret Cox - 2014-01-23 14:19

    I notice (with disgust and outrage) the teachers have a nice clean safe block of lavatories to use. If they could be provided for the staff why not for the children? It's disgusting, that poor little boy. And not even to be missed for some hours. I hope someone in the legal profession with a good heart helps the parents sue for millions.

      debby.kaye.5 - 2014-01-23 18:32

      Wow... Teachers being comfy... While kids suffer discomfort... Disgusting... I'm with you on this @MargaretCox

  • denzel.naidoo.73 - 2014-01-23 14:24

    To all ANC supporters, this is what happens when you elect an incompetent ANC government!!!!!

  • Cynic Martian - 2014-01-23 14:45

    Proof once more that in this country, being born poor is genocide...

  • Motsamai Shiya - 2014-01-23 17:45

    And the stupid ANC still insist that it had changed the lives of people, while school still uses pit toilets 20 years after taking government? ANC is a true Micky Mouse party....period.

  • Gail Hayes-Bean - 2014-01-23 18:17

    A really tragic way to die but nin rural areas where there is limited water and what there is has to be saved from rain water or fetched from a river rural people have to make a plan to deal with waste. My own little brother almost suffered this fate because we had an outside pit toilet with a big hole and a little hole and somehow he slipped and his elbows saved him. That and the fact that his cries were heard by someone. Most farms initially had pit toilets - there was no electiricty and going out there at night with a guttering paraffin lamp was a scary experience since one could encounter boomslangs and puff adders at worst but also tarantulas the size of a side plate sitting behind the role of loo paper just waiting to crawl up your sleeve when you reached for the paper. That was just how it was back then and one didn't blame the govt of the day for it sincee they didn't know or care. Even our farm school toilets were pits. My deepest sympathies to this little boys family and if any fingers are to be pointed they should point at the person responsible for the little boy. Even that is a stretch since if this happened during a recess or after school the teacher might not even have realised he was missing. RIP little one - you have escaped to a better place.

      Annelene Meterki Minnie - 2014-01-23 19:52

      Quite an interesting tale there...but at the end of the day a logical person has to ask...was there absolutely NO WAY for the school to cover that massive hole with something safe and user-friendly for small children?people are so creative with low-cost structures,yet in 2014 children still die in an uncovered pit toilet?

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