Limpopo protesters demand mobile toilets for schools with pit latrines
One school has three pit toilets for 400 learners
About 60 members of Equal Education and parents of learners marched on Tuesday to the Limpopo Department of Basic Education, in Polokwane to demand the immediate provision of mobile toilets at schools which still have pit latrines.
Most of the marchers were from Ga-Mashashane.
Equal Education said according to the 2021 National Education Infrastructure Management System report, 5,167 of the country’s 23,275 public schools still use plain pit toilets.
Plain pit toilets were banned under the Minimum Uniform Norms and Standards for Public School Infrastructure in 2013, and were to be removed and replaced by 2016. The Department of Basic Education had missed deadlines in 2016, 2020 and 2023, said EE.
In 2017 EE visited 18 schools in Ga-Mashashane and found that learners in most of the schools had to use plain pit toilets. Again in 2020 and 2023 EE visited the schools and found conditions unchanged in some schools and even worse in others.
Jay-Dee Cyster, EE Communications Manager said the Limpopo Education Department was slow to meet its moral and legal responsibilities to learners.
Mike Maringa, Limpopo Department of Basic Education spokesperson, said the department was preparing to update the courts on its progress, in line with a court directive.
On Tuesday, Equal Education members came from Ga-Mashashane to Polokwane in four minibus taxis. Singing and waving placards reading ‘Stop missing deadlines’, ‘No more extensions, Keep your promise’, ‘Learners’ lives are in danger, and Pits are Undignified’ as they marched to the offices in Biccard street.
One learner told GroundUp that their toilets are now a danger to them. “Recently our principal had to fix one of the toilet seats with plastic, but we are afraid of using the toilet in such condition,” said the learner.
Francis Mothiba, from the school governing body at Seipone Secondary, said parents had been talking to the department for eight years. Mothiba said 400 learners at the school use three pit toilets.
“The pit toilets at our school have cracks and are about to fail, but learners are forced to use the toilets in that state,” said Mothiba.
Isaac Malatji, the Chief Director of Infrastructure in the Limpopo Department of Basic Education, received and signed the memorandum.
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