50 new toilets for ‘bad schools’

Gauteng MEC of education Panyaza Lesufi. File Picture: Refilwe Modise

Gauteng MEC of education Panyaza Lesufi. File Picture: Refilwe Modise

After mounting pressure from the non-governmental organisation Equal Education and parents of school pupils, Gauteng MEC for education Panyaza Lesufi announced the completion of construction of 50 toilets at schools that were identified as the worst maintained in Gauteng.

However, Equal Education was still sceptical, saying there were numerous schools left that still had the worst sanitation across the province.

The organisation’s general secretary, Tshepo Motsepe, complained that Lesufi only “touches on soft targets”, because “he had not invited Equal Education to the briefing” regardless of it being this organisation that brought about the pressure to fix the sanitation.

Lesufi said the department had identified 472 Gauteng schools with bad sanitation but the appointed contractors had let the department down by abandoning the construction sites.

He assured parents toilets that were still under construction in the remaining 422 schools would be completed by the end of August.

In March and April this year, 500 students, parents, teachers and grandparents gathered to audit the learning conditions of about 200 000 students at 200 schools in 20 communities in Gauteng.

The audit found a sanitation crisis at most Gauteng schools where, on average, 100 pupils have to share one working toilet at township schools.

Equal Education – a movement of pupils, parents, teachers and community members working for quality and equality in South African education – then demanded Lesufi fix the sanitation crisis as soon as possible.

Lesufi had at the time unconditionally agreed to address the demands made by the parents and Equal Education.

He promised to complete all toilets at the affected schools during the holidays. Lesufi also said he had transferred R750 million to schools for toilet maintenance as per his earlier commitment to convert all Gauteng schools to section 21 schools.

Equal Education said the sanitation crisis in the province was far from being fixed.
–batlilep@citizen.co.za

 

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