Johannesburg: 16 March 2018
SECTION27 and its partners, welcome the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa to fix sanitation in our schools immediately. He asked the Minister of Basic Education to conduct an audit of schools without adequate ablution facilities within a month, and that she puts in place an emergency interim measure while rolling out proper infrastructure, within three months. This is the type of urgency we have been asking for, for many years.President Ramaphosa’s statement is made against the backdrop of two more children dying in unsafe schools. A learner in the Eastern Cape died in a pit toilet this past week. Yet another child died as a result of stepping on exposed live wire in a school in Limpopo. The same province in which Michael Komape fell to his death in pit toilet in 2014.
Civil society has fought for years to ensure that school infrastructure receives priority attention from the department and we stand ready to assist government where possible to make sure that this expected plan for eradicating pit toilets is implemented as a matter of extreme urgency.
This week, government resisted in court, civil society’s challenge to the School Infrastructure Regulations which we have argued are not effective as a roadmap for ensure safe and decent schools. Within the context of the President’s correct response to the most recent, senseless loss of children’s lives, surely, the department will have to revise its stance to the School Infrastructure Regulations and begin the urgent task of making our schools safe for learners.
We trust the President Ramaphosa will hold his officials accountable and ensure that they take ALL the necessary steps to prevent future tragedies.
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