Gauteng farm school closed after mayor discovers there is no water for pupils

  • Pupils at Ramusukula Secondary School outside Vanderibijlpark used sanitiser because there was no water on their first day back.
  • Officials at the farm school say water is supplied by boreholes which have run dry.
  • Pupils were sent home as it is Gauteng education department policy that schools without water must be closed. 

School opened for pupils attending Ramusukula Secondary School on Monday, despite there being no water on the school's property. 

Pupils spent more than four hours at the school, which is situated in the Barrage farming area in the Vaal, before Emfuleni Mayor Gift Moerane raised alarm bells. 

LIVE | All the latest coronavirus and lockdown updates

Moerane made the discovery after he had went to the bathroom and noticed there was no water. The mayor was then informed by officials at the school that boreholes supplying water to the school had run dry.

Pupils had been using sanitiser to wash their hands. 

Moerane then suggested to officials that the school be closed as he feared for both pupils' and teachers' health. Moerane said the school was disinfected prior to it being opened on Monday.

"I suggested to them that we should close the school temporarily and find an alternative place where our children and teachers will be housed while water is being delivered to the school and toilets are fixed.

"I have also asked the school to ensure that they find a plumber who will immediately connect water from Jojo tanks to the toilets to ensure that they flush.

"We can’t allow such a situation in our schools. I am shocked and have made calls to my officials responsible for water to ensure that Jojo tanks are brought to the school with immediate effect," he said.

Pupils then left just after 10:50. 

Some, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the school had been operating without water and sanitation prior to the lockdown.

They said there were no basins inside the bathrooms so that people could wash their hands. .

Some pupils said they refused to use the toilets which did not flush, and instead used the nearby bushes. 

Moerane promised that the situation would be rectified. 

"As the municipality, we are acting immediately and ensure that by tomorrow there should be two water tanks ready to be utilised."

An official at the school said she was also shocked to find there was no water on Monday. 

"I thought that, since the department has assured us that everything is in order, we were going to find everything in order. As a woman, I am worried about my health too. We are at risk of contracting the coronavirus in this school because we are forced to use toilet that are not flushing and are dirty," she said.

Around 11:54, a truck with water arrived at the school after pupils had long gone home.

Earlier, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said that the policy was clear - if there was no water, schools would have to be closed.

Stay healthy and entertained during the national lockdown. Sign up for our Lockdown Living newsletter. Sign up and manage your newsletters in the new News24 app by clicking on the Profile tab

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Eskom has considered continuous load shedding at Stage 2, instead of introducing it when the power system faces a crunch. What are your thoughts?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
I'm all for it - we're going to have power cuts regardless, so we might as well have some stability to better plan our lives
45% - 4729 votes
No thanks! I prefer having periods of no load shedding and we cannot normalise this crisis
55% - 5796 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.