13 December 2019
A dozen Equal Education (EE) members and high school learners picketed at the Limpopo Department of Education in Polokwane on Friday to demand that schools in Ga-Mashashane be given toilets or clean water.
Picketers held up placards reading: “Plain pit latrines are illegal” and “Water and sanitation for our schools”.
The group handed over a memorandum with a list of demands which included that immediate relief be given to five of the schools that don’t have any sanitation, two schools without access to water and that the MEC Polly Boshielo meet with EE leaders to plan a way forward.
This follows EE’s recent visit to schools in the Ga-Mashashane area. It was a follow up to its 2017 report on 18 schools in the Capricorn District. The 2017 report showed that of the 18 schools, 11 had pit latrines and four had no access to water.
A recent snap survey by EE showed that of the 18 schools initially visited, five still used pit latrines and two had no access to water.
EE is demanding that the department address the conditions at these schools urgently.
A Grade 10 learner from Mmatshipi Secondary school said: “I usually lose concentration in class after visiting the toilet because I feel I might get sick anytime. The toilets are not cleaned and there is no constant water supply at the school.”
According to EE’s Leanne Jansen-Thomas, some of the schools had resorted to buying water from the community when water was not donated by community members.
Department head Ndiambani Beauty Mutheiwana accepted and signed the memorandum. She told the learners: “The department has made progress in some of the demands and an evaluation process is under way on 215 schools that have pit toilets. I hope by January 2020 actual construction will take place.”