PRETORIA– South African Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga says her department needs 10 billion Rand (about 842 million US dollars) to completely eradicate pit latrines in schools and adds that she will provide President Cyril Ramaphosa with a costed plan on sanitation in schools in less than three months.
President Cyril Ramaphosa requested an audit of the sanitation situation in schools from the minister, following the death of five-year-old Lumka Mtekwa, who died after falling into a pit latrine at an Eastern Cape primary school last week.
Motshekga says the challenge is not with the figures which she says are being updated on a quarterly basis but the budget. She says the seven-billion-Rand annual budget for infrastructure is not nearly enough to eradicate pit latrines in South African schools.
Just to get water to schools to pay rent and repair other things, we have 1.0 billion Rand just to deal with one aspect to deal with pit latrines in one province. There was an estimation of 3.0 billion Rand for Limpopo (province), it has a backlog of 2,500 just in one province. Not less than 10 billion Rand we need just for pit latrines .
Five-year-old Lumka’s death is reminiscent to that of another five-year-old pupil, Michael Komape. He also died after falling into a pit latrine at a school in Limpopo four years ago. The Basic Education Department is yet to reach a settlement in Komape’s case. Unlike Komape’s school, Lumka’s school had flush toilets and this has presented another issue for the department.
About 24 toilets provided to the school but they didn’t demolish pit toilets so we also thought we must audit schools with pit latrines despite sanitation provided in schools, said Motshekga.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK